Polish Nobel Prize winner has asteroid named after her

“(555468) Tokarczuk” has become the official name of an asteroid discovered by two Polish asteroid and comet hunters, Michał Kusiak and Michał Żołnowski.

Polish town marks presence in space after naming asteroid

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Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019. The jury praised the Polish writer as an author who has “narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”

According to the established custom, the discoverers of the asteroid had the right to propose a name, which has now been accepted by the International Astronomical Union.

The object was discovered on September 12, 2013. It orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Due to the large distance from the sun, one lap takes almost 5 years.

“This is a very important day for me. Michał Kusiak and I have been informed that the asteroid 555468, which we discovered on September 12, 2013 has been officially named ‘Tokarczuk’. Recently, a special committee within the International Astronomical Union accepted our proposal,” Mr Żołnowski wrote on social media.

The previous issue of the Bulletin of the Working Group on Small Body Names of the International Astronomical Union (published at the beginning of July) contained an asteroid with the name Żywiec, which is also Michał Kusiak's hometown. The town is located in southern Poland, in the Śląskie province.