Planet Vishyanand named after Indian Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand

A minor planet (4538) 1988 TP has been named Vishyanand after Indian Chess Grandmaster and former World Chess champion Viswanathan Anand. (4538) 1988 TP is a main-belt minor planet.

Vishwanathan Anand

Apart from being a Chess Grandmaster, Vishwanathan Anand is also a part-time astronomer.

A minor planet is an astronomical object in direct orbit around the Sun that is neither a dominant planet nor a comet, and thus includes the dwarf planets. The orbital categories of minor planets are the asteroids, trojans, centaurs, Kuiper belt objects, and other trans-Neptunian objects. The first minor planet discovered was Ceres in 1801. The orbits of more than 540,000 objects have been archived at the Minor Planet Center. The term “minor planet” has been used since the 19th century to describe these objects.

How Anand’s name was proposed for this planet is quite interesting. Recently, Michael Rudenko of International Astronomical Union was invited to suggest a name for minor planet (4538), discovered back in 1988 and still unnamed, reports

“My two passions in life are astronomy and chess,” says Mike, who has a Playchess account. “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.

Michael Rudenko proposed the name “Vishyanand” (adhering to rules requiring names to be 16 characters or fewer, and preferably without spaces), along with a brief citation explaining the reason for the name. To his delight, the committee gave its approval, and minor planet (4538) is now officially known as “(4538) Vishyanand”. The citation reads: “Viswanathan (Vishy) Anand (b. 1969) was India’s first chess grandmaster. He went on to become the fifteenth undisputed world chess champion. In addition to his passion for chess, he is also an avid astrophotography enthusiast.”

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