David J. Tholen

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Asteroids discovered: 57
3124 Kansas November 3, 1981
11606 Almary October 19, 1995
17045 Markert March 22, 1999
(24978) 1998 HJ151 [1] [2] [3] April 28, 1998
(27002) 1998 DV9 [4] February 23, 1998
49036 Pelion [4] August 21, 1998
(72912) 2001 OA84 July 18, 2001
(96744) 1999 OW3 [4] July 18, 1999
(97725) 2000 GB147 [4] April 2, 2000
99942 Apophis [5] [6] June 19, 2004
(101818) 1999 JD13 [4] May 14, 1999
(103501) 2000 AT245 [4] January 8, 2000
(124198) 2001 OH77 July 18, 2001
(137911) 2000 AB246 [4] January 8, 2000
(139478) 2001 OP104 July 19, 2001
(141498) 2002 EZ16 March 8, 2002
(160848) 2001 BN82 January 19, 2001
(164294) 2004 XZ130 December 13, 2004
(164405) 2005 UK504 October 24, 2005
(164406) 2005 UV504 October 24, 2005
(168613) 2000 AA246 [4] January 7, 2000
(168828) 2000 SY320 September 29, 2000
(190208) 2006 AQ January 2, 2006
(198968) 2005 UF506 October 24, 2005
(198971) 2005 UU512 October 31, 2005
(202420) 2005 UO506 October 24, 2005
(209923) 2005 UX504 October 24, 2005
(218017) 2001 XV266 December 9, 2001
(229495) 2005 UG508 October 24, 2005
(231134) 2005 TU45 October 5, 2005
(231199) 2005 UO505 October 24, 2005
(231200) 2005 UZ505 October 24, 2005
(233166) 2005 UF508 October 24, 2005
(238850) 2005 UL530 October 24, 2005
(240790) 2005 UH505 October 24, 2005
(248508) 2005 UY504 October 24, 2005
(250706) 2005 RR6 September 4, 2005
(265742) 2005 UG510 October 24, 2005
(268427) 2005 UJ506 October 24, 2005
(276891) 2004 RH340 September 15, 2004
(277451) 2005 UT504 October 24, 2005
(280491) 2004 MO7 June 16, 2004
(280742) 2005 LY42 June 8, 2005
(281070) 2006 OY10 July 21, 2006
(284133) 2005 UP504 October 24, 2005
(290759) 2005 UR505 October 24, 2005
(303930) 2005 UZ503 October 24, 2005
(306798) 2001 OW94 July 20, 2001
(309203) 2007 GG April 7, 2007
(306798) 2001 OW94 July 20, 2001
(326354) 2000 SJ344 [4] September 30, 2000
(327398) 2005 UL505 October 24, 2005
(357129) 2001 XU266 December 9, 2001
(363071) 2000 GD147 [4] April 3, 2000
(363831) 2005 PY16 August 1, 2005
(383165) 2005 VJ5 November 7, 2005
(396816) 2004 QU28 August 17, 2004
(405762) 2005 YO180 December 29, 2005*
  1. 1 with Jane X. Luu
  2. 2 with Chadwick A. Trujillo
  3. 3 with David C. Jewitt
  4. 4 with Robert J. Whiteley
  5. 5 with Roy A. Tucker
  6. 6 with Fabrizio Bernardi

David James Tholen is an American astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii (IfA), who specializes in planetary and solar system astronomy.

Professional life[edit]

Tholen has discovered a number of asteroids, including the lost 1998 DK36, which may be an Apohele asteroid, and 2004 XZ130, which certainly is; in fact, it had the smallest semimajor axis and aphelion distance among the known asteroids (and still holds both records among numbered asteroids as of March 2010[1]). He won the H. C. Urey Prize in 1990.[2]

He co-discovered the asteroid 99942 Apophis (previously known as 2004 MN4). This asteroid will closely approach Earth on April 13, 2029 and very briefly appear as bright as a third magnitude star.

In 1995, Tholen obtained images of the newly discovered comet Hale-Bopp at a time when the comet was moving very slowly with respect to the background stars, thus permitting the red- green- and blue-filtered images to be combined into a color composite without the background stars appearing as separately colored dots. This color composite image was made publicly accessible via the Institute of Astronomy's web site.

Later, then IfA postdoc Olivier Hainaut discovered that this image was nearly identical to the one being discussed by late-night radio host Art Bell and one of his guests, Courtney Brown, who claimed that the image proved the existence of an unnatural object following the comet, something supposedly seen by those who had learned how to engage in the technique of "remote viewing". The image provided to Bell by Brown, and eventually made public on Bell's web site, did indeed show an object next to the comet that did not appear in archival images of the sky. In reality, the original image obtained by Tholen had been digitally altered, presumably by taking the image of a star near the edge of the frame, adding it to image next to the comet, and then trimming away the outer edges of the frame.

Tholen and Hainaut exposed the fraud by producing the original image, which showed no such additional object. Nevertheless, some people maintained that Brown's version was the original image and that Tholen had removed the additional object from the one on the Institute's web site. Indeed, the Heaven's Gate cult was so convinced that the additional object was a spaceship coming to take them away from Earth that they committed mass suicide.

Personal interests[edit]

David Tholen and Roy Tucker, co-discovers of 2004 MN4, are both fans of the TV series Stargate SG-1, which influenced the naming of the asteroid. The show's most persistent villain is Apophis, an alien also named for the Egyptian god. "We considered a number of names, but 'Apophis' kept floating to the top," says Tucker. "Apophis was a very fitting name for 2004 MN4 not only because of its threatening nature, but also because of its evolution from an Aten asteroid to an Apollo asteroid during the 2029 encounter." .[3]

Tholen frequently posts to various Usenet groups using the alias tholen@antispam.ham.

Tholen is a fan of the University of Kansas Jayhawks college basketball team and the Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball team.

He also plays clarinet and bass clarinet for the Honolulu Community Concert Band and the Oahu Community Orchestra.

He is also a user of the OS/2, Linux, Windows, Solaris, and Mac OS operating systems.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List Of Aten Minor Planets". Minor Planet Center. 02/04/2010. Retrieved 2011-01-08.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Harold C. Urey Prize in Planetary Science". 
  3. ^ Bill Cooke (August 18, 2005). "Asteroid Apophis set for a makeover". Astronomy Magazine.  (naming the asteroid Apophis and how Earth's gravity may change its trajectory in 2029)

External links[edit]