ASTEROID NAMED AFTER FILIPINO DOCTOR
AN 8-kilometer-wide asteroid circling the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter was named after a 60-year-old Filipino medical doctor who is an avid amateur astronomer.
The Paris-based International Astronomical Union named minor planet 1993 FN41 “7431 Jettaguilar,” in honor of Dr. Jose Francisco A. ‘Jett’ Aguilar, a neurosurgeon at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital and Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
Aguilar has helped Filipino children for more than 20 years. In 2019, he removed a parasitic twin from a three-week-old infant.
He is also the clinical director of the Philippine Movement Disorder Surgery Center, which pioneered “Deep Brain Stimulation” surgery for Filipino patients afflicted with a rare genetic movement disorder called “X-Linked Dystonia Parkinsonism.”
Despite his busy medical practice, Dr. Aguilar has been an ardent astrophotographer for more than 15 years. His photos of the Sun, the transit of Venus, lunar eclipses and other celestial events taken from his private home observatory in Quezon City have been published in Spaceweather.com and Skyandtelescope.org.
He is also an avid eclipse chaser, and he has traveled overseas with members of the ALP to observe and photograph total and annular solar eclipses in China, Indonesia, the U.S., and Singapore.
The Asteroid 7431 Jettaguilar revolves around the Sun at an average distance of about 463 million kilometers, and takes about 5.4 years to complete one orbit. It is about 643 million kilometers from Earth, shining very dimly at magnitude 19.5 in the constellation Sagittarius.
Asteroid 7431 Jettaguilar was discovered on March 19, 1993, from the European Southern Observatory in La Silla, Chile, and was given the preliminary designation 1993 FN41.