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BYU’s space ace: Minor planet named in honor of Jani Radebaugh

Rad New Planet: A BYU Scientist's Astronomical Honor

BYU planetary geology professor Jani Radebaugh’s contributions to planetary science have reached cosmic proportions as she recently received the prestigious honor of having a minor planet named her. The asteroid, previously known as “45690,” now bears the name “45690janiradebaugh” on official NASA/JPL websites.

The minor planet, situated within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is officially classified as a planet due to its orbit around the sun.

Radebaugh, who is widely recognized for her research in planetary science and her involvement in NASA’s forthcoming Dragonfly mission, said she was grateful for the recognition.

“It’s a really nice honor,” she said as she shared the news with one of her classes. “A friend of mine who’s a solar system ambassador put my name up and it turns out there are like 24,000 of these objects that are named for people; usually after scientists, leaders, monarchs, and people like that.”

The nomination for this honor came from Radebaugh’s friend and colleague, Patrick Wiggins, a NASA Solar System Ambassador from Utah, who noted the significant contributions Radebaugh has brought to the field. Radebaugh joins an exclusive club as only two other Utahns have minor planets named after them.

By: Tyler Stahle & Julie Walker, April 10, 2024

Media Contact: Tyler Stahle