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(5656) Oldfield

Minor planet number 5656 has been named in honor of the English composer/multi-instrumentalist, Mike Oldfield

The citation announcing the naming appeared on Minor Planet Circular 23353 (issued on 1994 Apr. 25), from which the following is extracted with permission:

(5656) Oldfield = A920 TA                                                       
     Discovered 1920 Oct. 8 by W. Baade at Bergedorf.                           
     Named in honor of Mike Oldfield (1953-    ), English composer and          
multi-instrumentalist, best known for Tubular Bells, his 1973 album             
that has influenced a generation of contemporary musicians.  In addition to     
numerous studio recordings, Oldfield wrote the moving soundtrack to the 1984    
film The Killing Fields.  Name proposed by G. V. Williams, who made             
the identifications involving this object.                                      
Read about how minor planets are named.


About (5656) Oldfield

(5656) Oldfield is in a 3.86-year elliptical orbit around the sun ranging in distance from 271.5 million km (at perihelion, closest point to the sun) to 464.5 million km (at aphelion, furthest point from the sun).

The next perihelion passage will occur on 2009 Feb. 24.0 UT.

The orbit is inclined by 4.0 degrees to the ecliptic plane (the plane of the earth's orbit about the sun).

There is little information on the physical properties of (5656) Oldfield. Even its diameter is uncertain--a range of 5 to 11 km is probable.

You will need a telescope to see this minor planet as its maximum brightness is some 1/2396 of the brightness of the faintest objects that can be seen with the unaided eye.

The diagram below show the orbit of (5656) Oldfield 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 (5656) Oldfield tonight? Customisable ephemerides are available.

Further information on Mike Oldfield and his music can be found at the official site and at The Bell and the links therein.


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