Vishwanathan Anand gets his name in space

We sometimes come to know that streets are named after famous people. People who are or were very famous and well acknowledged for their work have often been honored by naming a place after them as a token of gratitude. But planets? Yes, several minor planets have been named after famous people in the field of Science, Arts, Entertainment, Politics and Sports. And recently, an Indian has been given this honor. A small body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter has been named after the 5-time world champion, Chess Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand.

On 10th of October 1988, Kenzo Suzuki discovered the Minor Planet in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan but it remained unnamed since then. Michael Rudenko, a chess fawn and a member of the Minor Planet Centre committee proposed Anand’s name. Basically the discoverer names the minor planets. Then a committee of astronomers – International Astronomical Union (IAU) assigns the official name to a planet. On the other hand, if the planet remains unnamed even after 10 years then the committee members decides a name. Rudenko said, “My two passions in life are astronomy and chess. I thought it might be appropriate to name a minor planet in honor of a chess grandmaster. My thoughts at once turned to Viswanathan Anand who, in addition to being the fifteenth world chess champion, is also an astronomy buff.” And that’s how the Minor Planet got its new name – 4538 Vishyanand.

Vishwanathan Anand, a person who has achieved great success for India thought that this news was an April Fool’s joke when he first got to know but after finding it to be true, Vishy being the humble guy he is went on twitter and thanked everyone.

He went on to poke some fun at himself by tweeting

Famous tennis players like the Swiss maestro Roger Federer and The Spanish Wizard Rafael Nadal also have minor planets named after then. The legendary footballer Puskas has also been given this very rare token of honor and respect. Anand is the 1st ever sportsperson from India whose name is now written in the Space literally.

Anand is also an astronomy buff. Due to his busy schedule and constant travelling, he doesn’t get time to invest in expensive instruments. So, he fulfills his hobby by the remote telescope facility – iTelescope. It has three telescopes in Australia, Spain and New Mexico in US. He has his own small telescope and a couple of binoculars. And his retirement plan includes the up gradation of his instruments to a much more advanced level. He already has the sophisticated skills needed for astrophotography.

After this induction, Vishwanathan Anand becomes the ninth Indian who has a minor planet named after them. This list includes –

  • Hamsa Padmanabhan.
  • Sandeep Pattazhy.
  • Vishnu Jayaprakash.
  • Anish Mukherjee.
  • Debarhya Sarkar.
  • Hetal Vaishnav.
  • Akshat singhal.
  • Madhav Pathak.
  • Vishwanathan Anand.