Asteroid named after CU Boulder student

Feb. 23—The International Astronomical Union has named an asteroid after a University of Colorado Boulder student as a recognition for his research.

Fifth-year aerospace doctoral student Alex Meyer is being recognized for research he conducted on the dynamics of binary asteroid systems and how they are affected by close planetary flybys.

"It's pretty cool and quite an honor," Meyer said in a release. "You look around at other asteroids and the people they're named after; it's very good company to be in."

His work is part of NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, which in 2022 intentionally crashed a space probe into an orbiting binary asteroid to study deflection technology.

"He played such a big role, and the work he provided was really unique," Dan Scheeres, an aerospace professor and Meyer's advisor, said in the release. "He developed simulations on what would happen to this asteroid after the impact and provided advice on the science to other engineers."

Meyer's asteroid orbits as part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Approximately 4.4 miles in diameter, it was originally spotted in 2000 and is now called 33974 Alexmeyer. It requires at least an 18 inch mirror and is best viewed from an observatory, but it is possible to see with a large personal telescope.