Minor Planet 8131 Scanlon

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Truman Kohman, Leo Scanlon's name is now added to other Pittsburghian asteroids such as Wagman, Brashear, Hapke, Cassidy, and Alleghenia. With the approval of the asteroid's discoverer, astronomer Eleanor Helin, the International Astronomical Union approved Truman's petition in May 1998.

Despite the large number of unnamed minor planets known in the solar system, having one assigned an official name is not easily accomplished. Only Truman Kohman's special connections and reputation in the astronomical community made the assignment of Scanlon 8131 possible.

Text of the Citation On Minor Planet 8131 Scanlon

(8131) Scanlon = 1976 SC

Discovered 1976 September 27 by E. Helin at Palomar.

Named in honor of Leo J. Scanlon (b. 1903), prominent amateur whose interest in astronomy was sparked by seeing comet 1/P Halley in 1910. A plumber by profession, he built his own astronomical equipment and instructed others in telescope making. With Chester B. Roe, he co-founded the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh in 1929. The following year he built the first aluminum observatory dome. He observed variable stars, and he helped organize the Moonwatch team at Allegheny Observatory in 1957. In 1985 he was happy to observe comet 1/P Halley again.

Name proposed by the discoverer, following a suggestion by T. P. Kohman, who prepared the citation.




Orbital elements for 8131 Scanlon

Epoch 1998 July 6.0 TT = JDT 2451000.5                  Williams
M  91.54676              (2000.0)            P               Q
n   0.23967176     Peri.   34.15453     +0.94488007     -0.32568323
a   2.5667967      Node   344.74415     +0.26453249     +0.81991867
e   0.2010380      Incl.    7.34658     +0.19293579     +0.47081186
P   4.11           H   13.0           G   0.15           U   2
From 32 observations at 6 oppositions, 1970-1998, mean residual 0".91.
Orbital elements from MPC 31071.

Period = 4.1123 year
Synodic Period = 1.3213 year = 1 year 3.86 month = 1 year 117 day

Dates of greatest brightness near opposition, 2000-2003

(8131) Scanlon a,e,i = 2.57, 0.20, 7 Elements MPC 31071
Date R. A. (2000)Decl.DeltarElong.PhaseMag.
2000 06 1016 59.33-34 21.41.7462.748168.24.316.8
2001 11 2103 37.38+32 53.11.161 2.135166.86.015.4
2003 03 1311 30.04+01 38.12.0103.004178.40.517.0

Oppositions occur nearly 16 months apart and nearly repeat themselves at 4-year intervals. Accordingly, the most favorable opposition for the next several years is that of 2001 November.

All orbital and observational data provided by T. Kohman.