On November 21st 2007, the International Astronomical Union announced that an asteroid I discovered when working as an astronomer back in 1998 (previously known as 33179) had been officially named in honour of Arsene Wenger, the manager of my favourite football team, Arsenal. As discoverer, it is my privilege to propose names for asteroids I find to the Committee on small body nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union and I could think of no better person to honour in this way that the man who has taken football to a new level.

My naming citation was as follows:

Asteroid 33179 Arsenewenger is named to honour the achievements of Arsene Wenger OBE (1949-), a French football manager, who has been manager of Arsenal FC in England since 1996. He is the club's most successful manager in terms of trophies won. In 2004 he became the only manager in Premier League history to go through an entire season undefeated. Wenger's teams are renowned for their beautiful approach to the game. The asteroid, which is between 3 and 9 kilometres in diameter orbits between Mars and Jupiter taking 4.23 years to complete one circuit of the sun.

I believe Arsene is the only football manager to be so honoured, which indeed is appropriate, since in my view he is in a class of his own as a manager and his teams play football that is out of this world!

If you want to see where Arsenewenger is now, NASA have a nice website.

Asteroids are rocks which orbit the sun, generally between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. There are many millions of them, ranging in size from boulders to large bodies many thousands of kilometres across. Asteroids are discovered by taking pictures of the same patch of sky several times over the course of an evening; they give themselves away by appearing to move against the background stars. This asteroid was discovered when I worked at the Brevard Community College Observatory in Cocoa, Florida


Arsene at Bolton, 2005, my picture

Arsene in the sky 1998 my picture. Note that the arrow was added later...