Asteroid 4942 Munroe

Whoa. There’s an asteroid named after me!

Amazing xkcd readers Lewis Hulbert and Jordan Zhu noticed that the International Astronomical Union—the organization in charge of official astronomical naming—was taking suggestions for what to name small Solar System objects. They submitted my name for asteroid (4942) 1987 DU6, and it was subsequently renamed 4942 Munroe.

I’m really touched. I spent all weekend telling everyone who wanted to listen (and probably some who didn’t) about the asteroid.

The first thing I did was try to figure out whether 4942 Munroe was big enough to pose a threat to Earth. I was excited to learn that, based on its albedo (brightness), it’s probably about 6-10 kilometers in diameter. That’s comparable in size to the one that killed the dinosaurs—definitely big enough to cause a mass extinction!

I texted Phil Plait to let him know that 4942 Munroe is four or five times the diameter of 165347 Philplait.

Unfortunately Fortunately, it’s in a fairly stable circular orbit between Mars and Jupiter, so it’s unlikely to hit the Earth any time soon.

4942 Munroe (!!!) is large enough that it would have noticeable gravity, although not much. If you were walking on the surface and you tripped and fell, it’d take you a minute to hit the ground. You could get into orbit around it by traveling at jogging speed, and might even escape its gravity entirely with a good jump.

Thank you so much. This is the coolest thing.

253 thoughts on “Asteroid 4942 Munroe

  1. Hi Randall,
    Happy birthday! We were born on the same day, so I sort of use you as a measure of success. Currently you are in the lead ;-)
    All the best!

  2. Regarding reverse identity theft, I fit the pattern but I have to say that the perpetrators aren’t necessarily older gents, I have plenty of teenagers signing me up for their xbox or mcdonalds job applications. So much for the digital natives…

  3. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  4. In 2013, it was named after Randall Munroe, a former NASA roboticist and the author of the xkcd webcomic. This name was chosen by xkcd readers Lewis Hulbert and Jordan Zhu.

  5. Does this mean you have to update “What is your favorite astronomical entity?” in the about section?

  6. Pingback: Aw, They Named An Asteroid After The Creator Of XKCD | Superb Wiki

  7. And here are some more pictures of your asteroid, taken over multiple nights:
    I work at the Canadian Astonomy Data Centre. I recently developed a web page that allows astronomers to search for images of asteroids. While there are lots of webpages for searching for astronomical images of stationary objects, searching for images of asteroids is trickier, because the move.

    These images were taken at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea.

  8. Wow, that is a weird thought that if you trip and fall it will take a full minute before you hit the ground, and then have to make sure you don’t get up too fast and accidentally reach escape velocity. “Alright Johnny, you have to write on the board ‘I won’t trip Sally’ ten times before she hits the ground”.

  9. Aww gosh, Randall. Could you BE any more adorable? You’re so right, it totally is the coolest thing. And now I’m going to spend my weekend telling everyone about your Asteroid :)

  10. Pingback: [what if]第66期:夺命狂风 | 占星日报-每日星座运

  11. Pingback: 科学 – 六号教父 » [what if]第66期:夺命狂风

  12. But compared to an Eclipse-Class Dreadnaught, Munroe’s diameter would only be about 55% the length of an Eclipse.

  13. I just wanted to tell you, randomly and out of nowhere, that #1282, “Monty Hall,” deeply touched me. Part of it, of course, is that farm animals are cute and adorable, but I think there’s something deeper to it, that this event which is supposed to be the failure situation becomes the best reward. White Beret is really looking forward to life with his new pet, and the goat (who has probably been turned down quite a bit) is totally in love. It’s sweet and it’s moving and I love it. Thank you for creating it.

  14. Congratulations! You deserve it.
    And the guys who suggested your name to the asteroid are probably the best people in the world at making gifts.

  15. this blag is driving me nuts, for start can’t seem to comprehendo anything beyond Earth. I guess soon or later will be geek in this area too, good read!

  16. Ah, bit late on discovering this, but well done mister. Much deserved, that is one cool asteroid there, you best be sure it doesn’t get dislodged from its orbit. :) happy about this.
    Just a fan.

  17. I just wanted to add that completely made my day. I am overly excited that you play Go, and I hope that this cartoon will raise awareness of this game among your audience (of which a great part would likely find the game AWESOME), though I fear that the reference is simply lost on the vast majority.

  18. 4942 Munroe is a main-belt minor planet. It was discovered by Henri Debehogne at La Silla Observatory in Chile on February 24, 1987.
    In 2013, it was named after Randall Munroe, a former NASA roboticist and the author of the xkcd webcomic. This name was chosen by xkcd readers Lewis Hulbert and Jordan Zhu.

  19. Asteroid 4942 Munroe (nee 1987 DU6) orbits the Sun on the inner edge of the main asteroid belt—it’s no threat to Earth—about 330 million kilometers (200 million miles) out.

  20. Would you mind removing the SEO spam comments? Actually, the easiest way to avoid them in the first place is not offering a “Website” field in the comments – no weblinks, no SEO spam…

  21. Can you petition W3C for a new tag, since you are now a demi-god?
    Something along the lines of , so that your wonderful edit above could look like this:


    but also using the below unicode so there is no confusion:
    There is no hurry, but making it happen should be a priority.
    Much love and congratulations to you.

  22. I’ve just discovered your site but am enjoying it immensely. Glad to know you’re no threat to Earth.

  23. I’m a big fan of your site. Much appreciate your site and also the present made to you with naming this asteroid. You clearly deserve this! Kindest regards!

  24. Pingback: [what if]第66期:夺命狂风 | 创想

  25. Seems that your what-if numbers today are wrong. Do softdrinks really make up 5% of all liquid ever drunk by any human?

  26. Asteroid 4942 Munroe (nee 1987 DU6) orbits the Sun on the inner edge of the main asteroid belt—it’s no threat to Earth—about 330 million kilometers (200 million miles) out. It’s too small to measure its size directly at that distance, but judging from its brightness, it’s very roughly 10 km across at most.

  27. Interesting., I have no idea about this. Glad I discovered this site. Visit the above link to see my profile. Issues you raised is very interesting site to see them encouraged me. Highly attractive site it is spectacular.

  28. Asteroids, also called small planets or planetoids, are celestial bodies smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids (which may have a diameter of up to about 10 meters), and are not comets.

  29. The asteroid is a rock with a diameter of less than 1000 km, usually composed of carbon and metals. Usually asteroids orbiting the Sun. Most asteroids in our solar supply facilities are in the belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter.

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