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Tom Hanks had an asteroid named after him which was called “12818 tomhanks“.

Tom Hanks had an asteroid named after him which was called “12818 tomhanks“.

Asteroid 12818 Tomhanks was discovered on April 13, 1996 by University of Arizona astronomer Joseph L. Montani, part of a group of astronomers called Spacewatch who observe from University of Arizona telescopes in Kitt Peak, Ariz. The asteroid wasn't officially named until later, once its orbit had been well determined by multiple observations.

Spacewatch member Jim Scotti, a senior research specialist at the University of Arizona, bestowed the name "Tomhanks" in honor of Tom Hanks, the actor.

"I started thinking about people that deserved asteroid names," Scotti told SPACE.com. "Tom Hanks is a fellow space geek, he grew up with Apollo and man walking on the moon."

Scotti was impressed with Hanks' work acting in the 1995 film "Apollo 13," which dramatized the real-life 1970 NASA moon mission, as well as the follow-up 1998 HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon," which Hanks hosted and co-produced.

"I was just tickled pink with those kinds of programs and was inspired to name an asteroid after Tom Hanks," Scotti said. "I also named one after Ron Howard," the director of "Apollo 13" and a co-producer of "From the Earth to the Moon."


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