The International Astronomical Union has named an asteroid after Pope Gregory XIII, the 16th-century Roman Catholic leader who reformed the Western calendar to bring it into closer alignment with Earth’s orbit of the sun.
About 1.2 million asteroids orbit the sun, most in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. Seen through a telescope, the “minor planets,” as scientists term them, appear as specks of reflected light. The first one was cataloged in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, an Italian priest, and since then, more than 600,000 have been named. Around 60 were named to honor Christian leaders including Thomas Aquinas, Hildegard of Bingen, Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and C. S. Lewis.
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