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.

247 thoughts on “Asteroid 4942 Munroe

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  4. Geez… so much spam here. They all think it’s “interesting, [they] have no idea about this”.

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  6. i’m reading your comics for a few years right now, and i like them very much. They’re the sort of intelligent stuff that i like to read and yet very funny indeed. day after day you make me smile, but i didn’t understand this entry until I casually read the blag entry. I wanted to find out more and frame by frame i watched the whole story from the beginning to the end. This is simply superb, and made me almost cry.

  7. I just have to say that the line, “The flappy planes are beeping in the stick towers,” is, for some intangible reason, one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time.

  8. Only came here to say that the one with “the flappy planes beeping in the stick towers” deserves to be in a shirt. Just that.

  9. Hi,

    We were together in the first Machine of Death anthology, and I’ve been a long-time fan.

    Your “Time” comic is absolutely enchanting, and I was wondering if I could get your blessing to adapt it to a screenplay. I’m a graduate student of communication at Pittsburg State University (Kansas, no “h” in our name) and am trying to get a good portfolio of screenplays written up.

    Thanks! And stop being so hard to e-mail. :-)

    -B

  10. magnificent put up, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector do not understand this.
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  11. You get an awful lot of spam on here Randall! Perhaps your choice of captcha software is actually one of the shittier ones?
    You still made out like a Viking (ha!) getting a heavenly body named after you, up there with the gods! And it’s one big enough and close enough it may just hold on to that moniker for posterity.

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  13. Pingback: Open Thread: Someone Is Right on the Internet (or, XKCD Sells Out) » Balloon Juice

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