Main belt asteroid No. 274301 named 'Wikipedia'

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The "space Wikipedia" was discovered by the team of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory, Ukraine

A main belt asteroid, No. 274301, has been named after Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia. The information became available on the Minor Planet Center's website yesterday.

The decision of the Committee for Small Body Nomenclature to assign the name "Wikipedia" to the asteroid was published in the Minor Planet Circular of January 27, published online yesterday, page 82403. Wikimedia Ukraine board member Andriy Makukha proposed the name. It was submitted to the Committee by the head of the Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory in Ukraine, Yuri Ivashchenko.

The official dedication of the name says:

Wikipedia is a free, copyleft, collaboratively edited online encyclopedia launched in 2001. In 11 years of its compilation it became one of the largest reference works and one of the most visited web-sites on the Internet. It is developed in more than 270 languages by enthusiasts from all over the world.

The asteroid 274301 Wikipedia was discovered by the team of astronomers of Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory. At first it was observed by that team on August 25, 2008 at 22:47 (UTC). It was also observed on the next night and two weeks later on September 6. It received provisional designation 2008 QH24. Accurate calculation of its orbit showed asteroid 2008 QH24 is the same as 1997 RO4 and 2007 FK34. The asteroid had been previously spotted by observatories including Caussols-ODAS in France, and Mt. Lemmon Survey and Steward Observatory in Arizona, US.

On April 18, 2011 the minor planet received the number 274301.