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Coventry Asteroids

Asteroids are named by the Minor Planet Centre, under the auspices of the International Astrophysical Union. Usually the privilege of selecting the name is given to the individual or project which first reported the existence of the asteroid in question - a task complicated by the fact that asteroids with poorly understood orbits can be lost and rediscovered several times. A number of asteroids have been given names with Coventry connections.

(3009) Coventry

The asteroid Coventry is an asteroid orbiting in the main asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered by prolific minor planet spotter Nikolai Stepanowitsch Chernykh of the Crimean Astronomical Observatory on 22nd Sept 1973. Its naming was reported in Minor Planet Circular 9770, in July 1985, which explicitly reported: "Named for the city in England, twin city of Volgograd". Chernykh named asteroids 3006 Livadia (for a suburb of Yalta) and 3012 Minsk (for the capital of the Byelorussian SSR) in the same circular.

(3018) Godiva

By a strange coincidence, the same circular in July 1985 also reported the naming of another main belt asteroid as 3018 Godiva. Identified on 21st May 1982 by Edward Bowell of the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory. The motivation for its nomenclature was described as follows: "Named for the wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia, who, it is said, rode naked, but for her long hair, through the streets of Coventry so that her husband would reduce the oppressive taxes he levied on the people of the city. In a later, embellished version of the legend, the populace was entreated to stay behind shuttered windows; but a tailor named Peeping Tom, who disobeyed, was instantly struck blind."

(4119) Miles

Bowell also discovered another main belt asteroid named with a Coventry connection, which he identified on 16th January 1983. The naming citation (from MPC 17223, Nov 1990) is as follows: "Named in honor of Howard G. Miles, founder director of the Artificial Satellite Section of the British Astronomical Association, in which capacity he has served continuously since 1960. Miles has given sterling service to the advancement of amateur astronomy in Britain. A lecturer at Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry, he was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire for his civic service in education. Miles is a former business secretary of the B.A.A. and for many years has acted as coordinator for observations of fireballs and other transient phenomena. Name suggested and citation material provided by S. A. Mitton". Another page on this site discusses Miles' career.