If you happen to miss attending the annual meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) that is being held in Victoria (BC) from May 20 to 23, then cheer up. You may have another chance to witness the scientific impact of Canadian astronomical facilities in the form of a minor planet, named "(168358) CASCA", that will slowly traverse the sky about five degrees south-east of the bright star Zuben el Genubi (Alpha Libra) at the end of April 2009.

The minor planet was discovered by Dave Balam from the University of Victoria on the night of February 24, 1996 while conducting the asteroid and comet astrometry program using the venerable 1.82-m Plaskett Telescope of the National Research Council of Canada. Minor planet CASCA was situated more than 326 million kilometres from the Earth at the time of discovery.

The name was published in the March 2008 Minor Planet Circulars of the International Astronomical Union, which formally approves and registers newly discovered celestial objects. The minor planet will be formally awarded to the Canadian Astronomical Society at their annual meeting in Victoria. The citation is as follows:

"(168358) CASCA = 1996 DF2 Discovered 1996 Feb. 24 by D. D. Balam at National Research Council of Canada. This minor planet is named in honor of the Canadian Astronomical Society, or Société Canadienne d'Astronomie. The society is devoted to the promotion and advancement of knowledge of the universe through research and education."


David D. Balam
University of Victoria
Phone: (250) 721-7749

EDITORS: An archival 3 image set from the Near-Earth Asteroid Telescope (NEAT-JPL-NASA) showing CASCA as a red-green-blue moving object traversing the starfield on 2001 Dec. 19 is available at: