Asteroid 10172 recently renamed Roberta after U astronomy professor

A University professor is now honored among the sun, the stars and the planets.
Asteroid 10172 — orbiting in an asteroid belt somewhere between Mars and Jupiter — has been named Asteroid Roberta, after astronomy professor Roberta Humphreys.
One of her former students, Jeffrey Larsen — now a principal research specialist at the Starwatch Project at the University of Arizona at Tucson — renamed the three- to eight-mile wide asteroid.
Humphreys was Larsen’s 1996 Ph.D. thesis advisor.
“She taught me things you don’t pick up from a textbook, which is about 80 percent of what a research astronomer has to do,” Larsen said. “For this I owe her far more than a chunk of rock floating around the sun.”
Humphreys, who was vice chairwoman of the Faculty Senate last year, was notified of the honor last week.
“It is very generous for a former graduate student to acknowledge a professor in this way,” she said.
The asteroid was first discovered in 1995 by Spacewatch, which monitors asteroids and comets that come uncomfortably close to the Earth. But officials say Asteroid Roberta is not of concern.
— Compiled from staff and wire reports.