Take Karen Magee-Sauer's word for it: Asteroid 15632 is up there.
Since formation of the universe about 4.5 billion years ago until earlier this year, Asteroid 15632 had moved nameless through space.
Asteroid 15632, discovered in 2000 at the Lowell Observatory, is still moving in a nearly circular orbit around the sun, but with a new name: 15632 Magee-Sauer.
Magee-Sauer, an astronomy professor at Rowan University, has studied comets at the Keck Observatory, on Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, as well as other spots around the world. The International Astronomical Union's Committee for Small Body Nomenclature named the asteroid for her to honor her contributions to astronomy.
Asteroids are leftover bits of material that didn't get combined into planets when the universe was formed, and there are several hundred thousand of them, many yet unnamed and more being discovered each year, Magee-Sauer said.
"When asteroids are found, they are numbered and later named, frequently after people who have made a contribution to the field of astronomy," said Magee-Sauer, who lives in Boothwyn, Delaware County. "It's quite an honor."
Magee-Sauer, 42, currently on sabbatical, has taught at Rowan since 1989. In addition to teaching, she collaborates with scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Her research is supported through grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA. Later this month, she is scheduled to give a presentation in Australia at the International Astronomical Union on infrared studies of comets, and this fall she plans to travel to Hawaii to study Comet Encke, which makes an appearance every three years.
She has studied every bright comet since Comet Halley in 1986, the topic of her doctoral dissertation.
Although comets are named after the person discovering them - the English astronomer Edmond Halley is probably the most famous - asteroid names are more eclectic. Those discovering an asteroid usually get to name it, which is why there are asteroids named Manhattan and Perth Amboy.
Joe Montani, a planetary scientist in Arizona, picked Perth Amboy because that is where he was born and Manhattan because that is the site of the physics building at Columbia University where he studied astronomy.
Others are named after scientists, such as Magee-Sauer, who have made contributions to the field, and also after politicians, rock stars, classical musicians, even cities and countries.
15632 Magee-Sauer, on the list between Magdalena and Magellan, has notable celestial company.
John Lennon is up there and so, too, are the other Beatles. Duke Ellington has been immortalized, as have Mahler, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. Homage has been paid to the science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov and the astronomer Carl Sagan. Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the the moon, has an asteroid and so does Mr. Rogers.
Fans of George W. Bush must wait awhile before an asteroid is named for the president because the naming committee insists that a politician be dead for at least 100 years before being nominated.
As for Elvis, you'll find him on Asteroid 17059.
Contact suburban staff writer Louise Harbach at 856-779-3861 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audubon Wildlife Society Various topics. Audubon Senior Center, Oak St & Oakland Ave, Audubon; 856-428-1914. 7:30 p.m. 2d Mon.
Bookmarks Monroe Twp Library reading group. 306 S Main St, Williamstown; 856-629-1212. 7:30 p.m. Tue. This month: David McCullough, John Adams.
Chamber of Commerce Southern NJ Networking events. 856-424-7776. www.chambersnj.com. Network Connection Lunch. Cinecitta Ristorante, 3747 Church Rd, Mt Laurel. $20. Noon 3d Thu. Network Connection Breakfast. Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, 2 Miss America Way, Atlantic City. $20. 8:30 a.m. 4th Thu.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 80 of Glassboro Clayton VFW Post 1801, Washington Ave, Glassboro; 856-629-2362. 7:30 p.m. 3d Tue.
Gateway Model Railroad Club 100 Browning Rd, Brooklawn; 856-858-6644. 7 p.m. Tues.
Gloucester Co Art League Gloucester Co Library, Rte 45 & Wolfert Station Rd, Mullica Hill; 856-589-7099. Meeting 7 p.m. 3d Thu.
Gloucester Twp Literary Guild Book Discussion Gloucester Twp Public Library, 15 S Black Horse Pk, Blackwood; 856-228-0022. 7:30 p.m. 1st & 3d Thus.
Int'l Assn of Administrative Professionals Aquatrols Corp, 5 N Olney Ave, Cherry Hill; 800-257-7797. $13. 5:30 p.m. 3d Wed.
Women to Women Networking Group Networking & educational breakfast. Holiday Inn, Rte 70, Cherry Hill; 856-428-2831. www.WWNetworking.org. $16 at door; $14 in advance. 8-10 a.m. 3d Tue.
Seminars & Classes
Cooking Classes Kitchen Kapers, East Gate Square, 1341 Nixon Dr, Moorestown; 856-778-7705. Call for schedule, fees.
Football Officials Training classes for those interested in officiating Midget Football games in fall; South Jersey Officials Assn sponsors. Italian American Club, Broad St, Paulsboro; 856-228-9249. Start 7:30 p.m. 8/5.. Registration required.
*FREE* German Language Lessons St Stephens Meetingroom, 230 N Evergreen Ave, Woodbury; 856-423-5330. Call for schedule.
*FREE* Gloucester Co College CPIT Center for People in Transition workshops. Gloucester Co College, 1400 Tanyard Rd, Deptford; 856-415-2222. www.gccnj.edu. Divorce Recovery Workshops. 7-8:30 p.m. Tues 7/15-8/19. Helping Children to Adjust to Parental Divorce or Death. Call for schedule; 8/20.
Mary's Vineyard 1812 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd, Cherry Hill; 856-428-5495. Yoga. Free. 10-11 a.m. Mons. Qi Jong class. $10. 9-10 a.m. Tues. Reiki Healing Circle. 7-9 p.m. Weds.
Scottish Dance Lessons Cadbury Retirement Center, Rte 38 & Church St, Cherry Hill; 609-871-0120. $5. 8-10 p.m. Weds.
Vineland Public Library 1058 E Landis Ave, Vineland; 856-794-4244. Computer classes: Internet, keyboard & mouse basics, Word, Windows, other topics; also held in Spanish. Call for schedule.
*FREE* Expert Counseling For minority- & women-owned contractors & consultants wishing to bid on state school construction programs. Rutgers-Camden Small Business Development Center, 3d St, Camden; 856-225-6221. By appt.
*FREE* Financial Assistance Workshop on Small Business Administration 504 loan program for aquistion of capital assets. Gloucester County College (Allied Health Technology Center), Tanyard Rd, Deptford; 856-415-2283. 10 a.m. 7/23.
Forty Plus of Philadelphia Inc 1218 Chestnut St; 215-923-2074. www.40plus.org. Non-profit helps professionals over age 40 find new jobs. Weekly seminars. Call or visit website for details.