Minor planet named for former Carleton president Laurence McKinley Gould

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the minor planet (22022) Gould in a recent bulletin.

Erica Helgerud '20 10 June 2022
Orbital view of (22022) Gould
Orbital view of (22022) Gould from the Jet Propulsion LaboratoryPhoto:

A minor planet—in this case, an asteroid—discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey has been officially named for Carleton’s fourth president, Laurence “Larry” McKinley Gould. The asteroid, which had the preliminary designation of 1999 XR110, is now designated (22022) Gould.

Instrumental in getting this naming approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) was Greg Leonard, senior survey operations specialist at the Catalina Sky Survey. Leonard got to know Gould as a geoscience undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, where Gould taught after retiring from Carleton and out of which the Catalina Sky Survey is based.

Former Carleton president Laurence McKinley Gould at his desk
President Laurence McKinley Gould at his desk, 1945

“I’m sure Larry would really delight in having his own minor planet,” said Leonard, “and I’m sure he would be quite eager to map-out his new cosmic landscape.”

Aside from being a Carleton president and the namesake for the Carleton library, Gould was also a geologist, professor and polar explorer. He famously served as chief scientist and second-in-command of the 1928-30 Byrd Antarctic expedition. Leading a 1,500-mile sledge journey to the Transantarctic Mountains, he discovered sandstone outcrops, helping to link Antarctica with Gondwana, an ancient supercontinent.

The asteroid announcement appeared in the IAU’s Working Group on Small Bodies Nomenclature (WGSBN) Bulletin, volume two, number seven. The Catalina Sky Survey also produced an in-house certificate to celebrate the occasion.

Visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Small Bodies Database tool to view the full citation and more information on Gould’s minor planet, including a moving map of (22022) Gould within the solar system. To search the database, type in “Gould,” the minor planet number “22022” or the preliminary designation “1999 XR110.”

Erica Helgerud ’20 is the news and social media manager for Carleton College.