An asteroid in the main belt was recently named after our colleague Dr. Ekkehard Kührt. The object discovered on March 26, 1998 during a French-German observation project with the provisional name "1998 FQ14" is now, after confirmation by the IAU (International Astronomical Union), registered as "12497 Ekkehard" in the Small-Body Database managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and by NASA. The consecutive number indicates the order of discoveries. The asteroid with a size of about 4 to 5 kilometers orbits the Sun with a semimajor axis of 2.68 Astronomical Units in about 1600 days.
This naming honors our colleague's decades of work in the field of asteroids and comets and his participation in several space missions to these objects such as VEGA, PHOBOS, ROSETTA and HAYABUSA-2. His research has resulted in several hundred scientific publications and in important awards such as the Leopoldina Research Award, the DLR Innovation Prize, his Induction in “The Space Technology Hall of Fame” of the US Space Foundation and the Europlanet Prize for "Public Engagement with Planetary Science".
We congratulate you, dear Ekkehard, for this special honor!
Your collegues of the DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems