Missy Barrett's Adventures

The amazing adventures of a fictional child

Naming Asteroids

on March 15, 2013

My brother, Josh, was showing me pictures on the Internet of the asteroid that was going by earth in February, and it was really big. How big? Josh says it was half a football field big! That’s really, really big!

But you know, when I asked him what the name of the asteroid was, he said it didn’t have a name only an ID number and that ID number was 2012 DA14. I think it should have a name, but naming an asteroid is very hard work, mostly because an asteroid isn’t something you can visit first and then say, “Hey, this reminds me of this” or “Hey, this reminds me of that.” You have to use your imagination and guess what it might remind you of, and then you have to come up with good names to choose the right name from when you get to the choosing part.

My grandpa is really good at figuring out hard things, so I phoned him and told him about the asteroid with no name. He told me not to worry. He was going to help me find a good name for Asteroid 2012 DA14. I told him maybe the good name was in one of the funny old dictionaries he has in his den, and he thought my idea was a good idea so he went to his den and pulled out the two best dictionaries for asteroid naming. He told me they were both reference dictionaries, and if you’re going get reminded of something, it makes sense you’re going to want to use a reference dictionary to remind you.

But we couldn’t find any good names from those two dictionaries. My grandpa read the information about Four and Fourteen, but it didn’t give us any hints about the right name for the asteroid. That made me sad.

So I wouldn’t make the mistake of asking Aaron to look things up online, I asked my grandpa the name of the two dictionaries, and he said one was called Collins and the other was called Blackie. And then I got really excited because I knew what we could call the Asteroid 2012 DA14.

“Grandpa, we got the right name!” I said to my grandpa.

“We did?” he said back, and I was surprised he didn’t realize that he was the one that got it right first, and then me.

“Blackie! The name of the Asteroid 2012 DA14 is Blackie,” I told him. “It’s just like the one dictionary.”

And you know what he said back?  He said, “I think you’re right.”

And so, the very big asteroid that’s half a football field big isn’t really called Asteroid 2012 DA14. The real name for the asteroid is Blackie.

You should write that down in your notebook of important information so you don’t forget, just in case the asteroid comes back to visit some day.

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