WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Asteroid Named For Astronomer, Gay Rights Pioneer Frank Kameny

Play associated audio
The late Frank Kameny standing in front of several protest signs.
DCVirago: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12142335@N02/3618161999/
The late Frank Kameny standing in front of several protest signs.

A Canadian amateur astronomer who discovered several asteroids has named one after gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, who died last year in Washington.

Frank Kameny was a U.S. government astronomer in the 1950s who was fired from his job for being gay. He contested the firing all the way to the Supreme Court and organized the first gay rights protests outside the White House in the 1960s.

Kameny died last year at age 86.

When current astronomer Gary Billings heard about Kameny's death, he consulted with others in the astronomy world. They decided to submit a proposal to the Paris-based International Astronomical Union and Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass. to designate the rock hurtling through space known as Minor Planet 40463, as Frankkameny. There are more than 17,000 named asteroids, and many more that are not named. 

A published citation naming the asteroid this month notes Kameny's history as a gay rights pioneer.


No Meekness Here: Meet Rosa Parks, 'Lifelong Freedom Fighter'

As the 60th anniversary of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott approaches, author Jeanne Theoharis says it's time to let go of the image of Rosa Parks as an unassuming accidental activist.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

Internet food culture has brought us new words for nearly every gastronomical condition. The author of "Eatymology," parodist Josh Friedland, discusses "brogurt" with NPR's Rachel Martin.
WAMU 88.5

World Leaders Meet For The UN Climate Change Summit In Paris

World leaders meet for the UN climate change summit in Paris to discuss plans for reducing carbon emissions. What's at stake for the talks, and prospects for a major agreement.


Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.