July 25, 2024

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An asteroid named Felix Bethuneville

An asteroid named Felix Bethuneville

At the suggestion of discoverer Marco Langbroek, the Working Group on Small Object Nomenclature (WGSBN) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided to name asteroid 677772 after Felix Bitonville, an engineer and project manager at the Netherlands Research Optics and Infrared Group. School of Astronomy (NOVA), and also an active meteorite observer and board member of the Meteor Working Group of the KNVWS. The name is due to its significant contribution to amateur astronomy (specifically meteorites).

(677772) Bethuneville was discovered on October 18, 2012 by Christian Szarnecki and Marko Langbroek using the 0.6-meter Schmidt telescope at the MPC 461 Piszkéstetö Observatory in Hungary. (677772) Bethuneville is about 0.5 to 1 km in size.

Bethuneville was NOVA’s project leader for the MATISSE instrument, which has been used since 2018 to observe interference with the four telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. He currently leads the international consortium to build the METIS instrument for the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). The METIS camera/spectrometer is one of the so-called “first light” instruments at the ELT, which is now under construction in northern Chile.

(677772) Bethuneville is the 404th asteroid with a Dutch name, and is currently the highest-ranking asteroid to be named.

Original press release

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