TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Philanthropist Buhl Jr. immortalized with asteroid

The International Astronomical Union has announced that an asteroid now bears Henry Buhl Jr.’s name. Asteroid number “1990 AA” is now referred to as “Henrybuhl.” Buhl was a Pittsburgh philanthropist who established The Buhl Foundation, which supports education, human services, youth programs and economic development. It established Buhl Planetarium, the predecessor organization of the Carnegie Science Center, in 1939.
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 9:10 p.m.
 

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

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Pittsburgh mayor Peduto goes ‘Undercover’ for CBS reality show
  2. Search for Duquesne University graduate Kochu continues
  3. Man shot in Allentown home
  4. Allegheny County district attorney prosecutors move on to state office
  5. Vigil honors 6 homeless who died in Pittsburgh in 2014
  6. Alliance aims to transform vacant parcel in St. Clair to include townhouses, urban farming
  7. Pittsburgh’s Hill District revitalization project hits financial hurdle in TIF
  8. Garfield residents plan rally over Bottom Dollar site
  9. Fatal fire under investigation in New Castle
  10. Carnegie skatepark set to close for the season
  11. Pittsburgh adjusting to new bicycle lane, ‘stop boxes’
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.