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.

260 replies on “Asteroid 4942 Munroe”

  1. They should name a star system after you. Preferably one that isn’t going to supernova anytime soon.


  2. This is a nice content with lots of information. It’s a very excellent idea for raising money for charity. I think honest review is more important for authors. I like your whole discussion. Keep it up.


  3. நான் உங்கள் எழுத்து திறமையை கொண்டு மேலும் பதிந்துவிட்டது
    உங்கள் வலைப்பதிவில் அமைப்பை கொண்டு. இந்த பணம் தீம் அல்லது درب اتوماتیک
    நீங்கள் உங்களை மாற்ற வில்லை? ஒன்று வழி வரை வைக்கிறது
    நல்ல தரமான எழுத்து, அது இந்த இன்று போல் ஒரு பெரிய வலைப்பதிவை பார்க்க அரிதாக உள்ளது.


  4. Hi,
    >based on its albedo (brightness),
    albedo is reflectivity and not brightness.
    The observed brightness of an object depends on several factors,
    one of which will be the albedo.
    (I suspect you already know this and it’s essentially a typo…)
    – Henry


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