2309 Mr. Spock

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Mr. Spock
Discovery and designation
Discovered by James B. Gibson
Discovery site Yale-Columbia Station at El Leoncito, Argentina
Discovery date August 16, 1971
MPC designation 2309
Named after
The discoverer's cat
1971 QX1, 1935 SN1, 1948 EJ1, 1956 TL, 1974 CU, 1977 SF3
Orbital characteristics
Epoch November 30, 2008
Aphelion 3.2760908
Perihelion 2.7482684
Eccentricity 0.0876147
Inclination 10.98399
Physical characteristics
Dimensions diameter 21.29 km

2309 Mr. Spock (provisional designation: 1971 QX1) is a main belt asteroid discovered on August 16, 1971 by James B. Gibson, an astronomer specializing in comets, asteroids and the Milky Way, at the Yale-Columbia Station at El Leoncito, Argentina. The asteroid is about 21 km in diameter.

The asteroid's name does not come directly from the character of Mr. Spock in Star Trek, but rather indirectly from the discoverer's male cat who was named after the science fiction character. Like his namesake, the feline Mr. Spock was, according to Gibson, "imperturbable, logical, intelligent, and had pointed ears". The cat had accompanied Gibson on astronomical observations carried out in the United States, Africa, and South America. The naming created an uproar, and the International Astronomical Union subsequently decided that pet animal names were to be discouraged.[1] A number of other asteroids have since been named after Star Trek characters, as well as after musicians and other figures in pop culture.


  1. ^ "Naming Astronomical Objects". International Astronomical Union. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  • MPC 10042, Minor Planet Circulars, 1985 September 29.
  • Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, 5th Edition, Lutz D. Schmadel, Springer, 2003, ISBN 3-540-00238-3.
  • Observing Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, and the Zodiacal Light, Stephen J. Edberg and David H. Levy, cloth, Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-521-42003-2 [ISBN 978-0-521-42003-7].

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