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Of Brno and Other Heavenly Bodies


That's right, somewhere out there, in space, there is an asteroid with Brno's name on it. OK, so I suppose that asteroids couldn't really be placed in the same category as all those other things in the heavens; after all, people didn't really notice them until 1801. Nonetheless something up there is named Brno. According to factbites.com, which is not always reliable but still interesting, no. 2889 Brno is a "small main belt asteroid, which was discovered by the Czech astronomer Antonín Mrkoš in 1981."

This means that in order to see Brno you just have to get out your telescope (asteroids are small) and look around the night sky. You may need a large telescope. In fact, you will probably need to build a giant radio telescope in the backyard since 2889 Brno will be virtually indistinguishable from thousands of other flying rocks somewhere in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. But you could try if you really want.

There are other asteroids with Czech names, too. For example, the Maccocha abyss in the Moravian Karst--the abyss is reportedly the deepest collapsed limestone dome in the world--also has an asteroid named after it. Then there is a Masaryk (named after the first president of Czechoslovakia), a Vltava (the river flowing through Prague), and a Československo (Czechoslovakia). Even folk music has its asteroid: one is named after the famous Romani violinist Jožka Kubík from the Moravian town Velká nad Veličkou. (The statue of Kubík in Velká is known as the only statue of a Roma in the entire Czech Republic.)

So if you want to be famous in the Czech Republic, be sure to get an asteroid named after you. And if you buy a ticket to Brno, be sure to specify, "the city, not the asteroid" or you might end up somewhere quite different than you expected.

Click here for more random information about Brno. Here for more asteroid info. Picture of 951 Gaspra from NASA.

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