Richard Martin West

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Minor planets discovered: 40 [1]
see § List of discovered minor planets

Richard Martin West (born 1941) is a Danish astronomer and discoverer of astronomical objects with a long career at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and at the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

He discovered numerous comets, including Comet West (C/1975 V1), which was one of the brightest comets of the 1970s,[2] and the periodic comets 76P/West–Kohoutek–Ikemura and 123P/West–Hartley.

He is also credited by the Minor Planet Center with the discovery of 40 minor planets between 1976 and 1986,[1] including 2146 Stentor and 2148 Epeios, two Trojan asteroids. Together with Hans-Emil Schuster, he co-discovered the Phoenix Dwarf galaxy.

Early life and education[edit]

West was born in Copenhagen in 1941. He completed high school in 1959 and then achieved a degree in astronomy and astro physics (mag.scient. et cand.mag.) from University of Copenhagen in 1964.

Career at ESO[edit]

Richard West began working at ESO in 1970, when he joined as Assistant Astronomer to the ESO Director General, Adriaan Blaauw. His career took a leap in 1972, when he charged one of the first and largest scientific programmes of ESO: the Sky Atlas Laboratory project to systematically map the southern hemisphere.[3]

West was a leading figure in helping out and establishing serious collaborations with the scientific communities of the Central and Eastern European countries in the wake of the political, social and economical turmoil following the collapse and dismantling of the Soviet block in the early 1990s.[3][4]

West retired in 2005, after a continuous employment at ESO.[3]

Positions[edit]

Richard West focussed a lot of his worklife on the organizational matters of the international scientific community in addition to science communications in general. He held a number of influential positions:[3]

  • Assistant General Secretary of the IAU in 1979–1982.
  • General Secretary of the IAU (1982–1985).[5]
  • Presided over a number of IAU Commissions, including Commission 20 from 1988 to 1991.[5]
  • Member of the Executive Committee of ICSU.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Rosenkjaer Prize. A prestigious award in Denmark, given for outstanding science or culture communication.
  • The main-belt asteroid 2022 West was named in his honor.[5]

List of discovered minor planets[edit]

2052 Tamriko 24 October 1976 list
2053 Nuki 24 October 1976 list
2115 Irakli 24 October 1976 list
2116 Mtskheta 24 October 1976 list
2117 Danmark 9 January 1978 list
2145 Blaauw 24 October 1976 list
2146 Stentor 24 October 1976 list
2147 Kharadze 25 October 1976 list
2148 Epeios 24 October 1976 list
2187 La Silla 24 October 1976 list
2526 Alisary 19 May 1979 list
2595 Gudiachvili 19 May 1979 list
2596 Vainu Bappu 19 May 1979 list
2935 Naerum 24 October 1976 list
3004 Knud 27 February 1976 list
3477 Kazbegi 19 May 1979 list
3871 Reiz 18 February 1982 list
3933 Portugal 12 March 1986 list
5270 Kakabadze 19 May 1979 list
5890 Carlsberg 19 May 1979 list
6362 Tunis 19 May 1979 list
8066 Poldimeri 6 August 1980 list
8993 Ingstad 30 October 1980 list
9272 Liseleje 19 May 1979 list
(10462) 1979 KM 19 May 1979 list
(10668) 1976 UB1 24 October 1976 list
11005 Waldtrudering 6 August 1980 list
(12188) 1978 PE 9 August 1978 list
(12198) 1980 PJ1 6 August 1980 list
(14350) 1985 VA1 1 November 1985 list
(15201) 1976 UY 31 October 1976 list
(15207) 1979 KD 19 May 1979 list
(20995) 1985 VY 1 November 1985 list
(22252) 1978 SG 27 September 1978 list
(26081) 1980 PT1 6 August 1980 list
(27667) 1979 KJ 19 May 1979 list
(34998) 1978 SE 27 September 1978 list
(65661) 1985 VB1 1 November 1985 list
79086 Gorgasali 4 September 1977 list
(187746) 1976 DC 27 February 1976 list

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "New Scientist - Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Richard West Retires" (PDF). The Messenger. ESO. June 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Strange New Star Appears in the Southern Sky". ESO. 17 January 1991. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (2022) West. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 164. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 

External links[edit]