The SETI Institute’s Newest Rock Star

Debbie KolyerDebbie Kolyer

By Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, Director of SETI Research

Debbie Kolyer, who is the Institute’s Manager of Grants Administration, now has a stony sibling. 

In recognition of her work to further research at the SETI Institute, including meteor observations from aircraft, the International Astronomical Union has chosen to name an asteroid after her: 8803 Kolyer.

The impressive and prestigious low number (8803) of this object derives from the fact that it was discovered more than three decades ago.  University of Hawaii astronomer Schelte. J. “Bobby” Bus first found it at the Siding Springs Observatory in Australia in 1981.

With a degree in geochemistry, Debbie has worked in the field of planetary science, including study of craters on Saturn’s moon, Rhea, as well as analysis of data from the IRAS infrared telescope.

While Debbie says she has no immediate plans to visit her new namesake, she is pleased to know that somewhere in the depths of the solar system there’s a rock with her name on it.   

Those of us who have had the benefit of Debbie’s tireless and efficient help with our research proposals know that this honor is more than well deserved.