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Asteroid named after area astronomer

This is Lisk’s best telescope. He owns a meteorite collection and the number crosses 100. Photo courtesy Gregory Lisk.

By Rhythm Rathi [1]

BELLEVILLE – A Trenton astronomer has been honoured with a minor planet named after him by the International Astronomical Union [2].

The celestial body, no.10065, is now called asteroid Greglisk, after Gregory Lisk. It is located in the main asteroid belt, which is situated between Mars and Jupiter.

The designation was based on the IAU’s recognition of the work that Lisk has done in the field of astronomy in the Quinte area.

The asteroid is about 12.2 km in diameter and takes about 4.98 earth years to complete one rotation around the sun, according to the NASA website [3].

According to Lisk, while it is approximately the same size as the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, it is in a very stable orbit and is no threat to Earth.

In 2014, he was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada [4] (RASC) Service Medal.

He has taught at Loyalist College and has been a contributing writer and photographer for SkyNews magazine.

Lisk also served as the President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) – Belleville Centre for over 12 years.

He was surprised after receiving the news and was very happy about his achievement.

“Well, I don’t have any children and my wife can’t have children. So this is probably the biggest legacy I am likely to leave behind. So it’s quite an honour.”

The Belleville Centre of the RASC, renamed in July 2003, was earlier called the Belleville Astronomy Club and was founded in 1990 by a few classmates of a general interest astronomy course at Loyalist College.

President David Cotterell confirmed that Lisk is the first person ever in the history of the Belleville Centre to get an asteroid named after him.

“I am happy for the guy. He did a lot of good work for a number of years and he deserves some recognition,” he said.

Lisk has been very passionate in the field of astronomy and would set up a telescope every year on Halloween night to show the kids a glimpse of the rings of Saturn, Jupiter, moon and stars.

Lisk in his backyard observatory. Photo Courtesy Gregory Lisk.

He likes building telescopes as a hobby and has a good knowledge of the device. He has built about 20 of them and also gave them out as prizes in science fairs.

Dr. Randall Boddam is the current vice president for the RASC Belleville Centre. He said Lisk loves to help and has mentored him in learning the night sky and purchasing equipment.

“He taught me techniques that I would use, I still use.”

“He is a sort of guy … he can be in the background or he can be in the foreground but … if you want help he is there to provide it,” said Boddam.

The Centre’s National Council Representative Donald Town said Lisk carried the Belleville Centre for a number of years from a leadership stand point and contributed towards the field of astronomy both at local and national levels.

He organized field trips, designed award programs, judged local science fair entries, prepared displays, arranged star parties and gave presentations at outreach events, both indoor and outdoor.

“In terms of knowing Greg from an astronomical standpoint, I have got great respect for the man. He has got a lot of drive and ambition,” Town said.

“He has done a lot in terms of providing prizes for the local science fair and if anybody asked a question regarding astronomy, he is the first one to give a good detailed answer but nothing that is above people’s heads either,” he added.