Philanthropist Buhl Jr. immortalized with asteroid
The man whose benevolence gave Pittsburgh a facility for stargazers will be honored in perpetuity among the stars.
Asteroid No. 1990 AA has been renamed Henrybuhl, for philanthropist Henry Buhl Jr., whose Buhl Planetarium is part of Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore.
In anticipation of the planetarium's upcoming 75th anniversary, two Buhl staff members — Frank Mancuso, planetarium producer, and Dan Malerbo, education coordinator — were discussing asteroids that are named for people with connections to Pittsburgh.
“We actually were both kind of surprised that nowhere in the past had anyone thought about submitting (Buhl's) name,” Mancuso said.
So he put the idea before the Minor Planet Center at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which is part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said Gareth Williams, associate director of the Minor Planet Center.
The International Astronomical Union, the Paris-based organization responsible for naming planetary objects, approved the Henrybuhl name as a permanent designation.
“Over the course of his life, Henry Buhl made such significant contributions to the planetarium, science education and the community. It's truly gratifying to honor his impact in this way,” Ron Baillie, a science center co-director, said in a prepared statement.
In 1869, Buhl and Russell H. Boggs opened a dry goods store on Federal Street in the North Side, according to the Buhl Foundation. The men became wealthy.
Buhl died on June 11, 1927, without any direct heirs, and his will established the foundation to support education, human services, youth programs and development projects. The foundation was endowed with $11 million in 1928.
Buhl Planetarium, which the foundation established, was the fifth American planetarium when it opened in October 1939, Mancuso said. In 2006, Carnegie Science Center used a $1 million gift from the Buhl Foundation to buy and install its full-dome, digital projection system.
“The planetarium is known worldwide for some of the shows that we've done in recent years,” Mancuso said.
The asteroid named for Buhl was discovered on Jan. 3, 1990, by T. Hioki and S. Hayakawa in Okutama, Japan.
Its magnitude, or brightness, is +16, which makes it faint, Mancuso said. The asteroid orbits the sun once every 1,549 Earth days.
Asteroids, or minor planets, can be named for people, places, events, even fictional characters — but not politicians or military figures who have been dead for less than 100 years or political/military events that happened less than 100 years earlier, Williams said.
Prohibited are profane names and naming objects after the person submitting the request, he said.
The Minor Planet Center names about 1,300 minor planets a year.
Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5662.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ferrante homicide trial heads into day 6 with testimony on cyanide, Web searches
- Movie studio owner building in McKees Rocks is $540K in red
- Pittsburgh still lags in accounting system for off-duty officers
- Ferrante defense questions recordkeeping of lab that tested cyanide
- Boyce Road water main breaks for 3rd time in 3 days
- 3rd member of counterfeit credit card ring surrenders in Chicago
- Ferrante suicide letter says he did not kill wife
- 32nd District seat in Pa. perceived as pivotal for chamber control
- North Side residents work on raising $5,000 to replace gardener’s truck
- Murky finances lost in grant process for film studio in McKees Rocks
- Parkway East will be reduced to 1 lane at Squirrel Hill Thursday night