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(3834) Zappafrank

Minor planet number 3834 has been named in honor of innovative rock musician Frank Zappa.

The citation announcing the naming appeared on Minor Planet Circular 23792 (issued on 1994 July 22), from which the following is extracted with permission:

(3834) Zappafrank = 1980 JE                                                     
     Discovered 1980 May 11 by L. Brozek at Klet.                               
     Named in memory of Frank Zappa (1940-1993), rock musician and              
composer of innovative contemporary symphonic, chamber and electronic           
music.  Zappa was an eclectic, self-trained artist and composer with            
incredible energy and a biting wit, and his music transcends the usual          
music barriers.  Before 1989 he was regarded as a symbol of democracy           
and freedom by many people in Czechoslovakia.                                   
Read about how minor planets are named.

About (3834) Zappafrank

(3834) Zappafrank is in a 4.08-year elliptical orbit around the sun ranging in distance from 307.8 million km (at perihelion, closest point to the sun) to 455.6 million km (at aphelion, furthest point from the sun).

The previous perihelion passage occurred on 2013 Jan. 19.1 UT.

The orbit is inclined by 14.1 degrees to the ecliptic plane (the plane of the earth's orbit about the sun).

There is little information on the physical properties of (3834) Zappafrank. Even its diameter is uncertain--a range of 5 to 12 km is probable.

You will need a telescope to see this minor planet as its maximum brightness is some 1/4737 of the brightness of the faintest objects that can be seen with the unaided eye.

The diagram below show the orbit of (3834) Zappafrank in relation to the major planets in the inner solar system.

Orbit diagram

This view of the inner solar system is seen from the north ecliptic pole. The sun is the yellow star at the center of the image. The blue orbits represent, in increasing distance from the center, the major planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter. The position of each major planet at the date indicated at the bottom of the plot is shown by the large circled cross. The orbit of the minor planet is shown in red, with the location of the minor planet (at the date indicated at the bottom of the plot) shown as a white circled cross. From this vantage point the planets revolve around the sun in a counter clockwise direction. The vernal equinox is off to the right. The portion of the minor planet's orbit that is below the plane of the earth's orbit is shaded grey. The perihelion point of the minor planet's orbit is at the end of the white straight line through the sun indicated by "P".

Also available is information on provisional designations.

Where is (3834) Zappafrank tonight? Customisable ephemerides are available.

Two CCD images (102 K) of Zappafrank, showing its motion over a period of about an hour on 1996 Mar. 10, are available. The images were taken by D. di Cicco, associate editor of Sky & Telescope and are reproduced here with permission.

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