India’s first chess grandmaster, Vishwanathan Anand has been granted the honor of having a minor planet named after him. With this privilege, Anand joins former world chess champions Alexander Alekhine and Anatoly Karpov who have had a similar honour bestowed on them.
The minor planet, now known as Vishyanand, was previously identified as planet 4538 and is located somewhere between the planets of Mars and Jupiter.
It so happened that recently, Michael Rudenko of International Astronomical Union was invited to suggest a name for this minor planet. Michael Rudenko, a chess buff recommended Vishwanathan Anand's name which the committee readily approved.
Minor planet 4538 Vishyanand was discovered by Kenzo Suzuki in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, on 10 October 1988 but remained unnamed for almost 10 years, until now.
What is a minor planet:
A minor planet is an astronomical object in direct orbit around the Sun that is neither a dominant planet nor a comet, and thus includes the dwarf planets. The orbital categories of minor planets are the asteroids, trojans, centaurs, Kuiper belt objects, and other trans-Neptunian objects.
The first minor planet discovered was Ceres in 1801. The orbits of more than 540,000 objects have been archived at the Minor Planet Center. The term “minor planet” has been used since the 19th century to describe these objects.