With the passing of music legend David Bowie, many fans took to expressing their grief over his loss. But perhaps there is some solace: not only will his music live on, but his name is out there in the celestial heavens.
In the main asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, is asteroid 342843 Davidbowie.
The asteroid, with the official name of 2008 YN3, was discovered on Dec. 21, 2008 by F. Hormuth. The asteroid was given the David Bowie name just over a year ago, on Jan. 5, 2015.
The asteroid belt is full of billions of pieces of rock and debris left over from the early formation of our solar system, some 4.6 billion years ago. It’s likely the result of a failed planet. It is home to our largest asteroid, Ceres (which is also considered a dwarf planet like far-off Pluto), where the Dawn spacecraft is currently orbiting.
Now, don’t go looking for 342843 Davidbowie just yet. First off, the far-off piece of space rock is only currently visible in the southern hemisphere, found between the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius (we get to see those constellations in the summer). Second, and most important, is that it’s not visible using an amateur telescope.
But still, when you look up into the night sky, it might be nice to know that the singer who brought us Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust and Starman is truly out there among the stardust.