An asteroid between Mars and Jupiter has been officially named after the late, Frank Kameny, government appointed astronomer and life long civil rights activist. Kameny worked for the U.S. Army Map Service in the 1950’s, but was fired after they discovered he was gay. Despite the unjust firing, he did not give up and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court. He also organized several protests in Washington D.C. and other major cities, fighting for gay rights and equality. After Kameny died in 2011, astronomers, Gary Billings and Richard “Doc” Kinne, submitted a citation to the Paris-based International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., hoping to name Minor Planet 40463 Frankkameny, in honor of the gay-rights pioneer. Both astronomers were deeply moved by Kameny’s achievements, and this was their way of thanking him. On July 3rd, a published citation officially documenting the asteroid as Frankkameny, was issued in the Minor Planet Circular.
Read the official citation after the jump…
“Frank E. Kameny (1925-2011) trained as a variable star astronomer in the 1950s, but joined the Civil Rights struggle. His contributions included removing homosexuality from being termed a mental disorder in 1973 and shepherding passage of the District of Columbia marriage equality law in 2009,” it read.
Today, the asteroid Frankkameny can be spotted through a telescope floating amongst the other stars, to be appreciated infinitely. [washingtonpost.com]