International Astronomical Union Honors Observatory

Asteroid Martz-Kohl taken through Martz 24" Cassegrain Telescope on 12-12-2021

Naming Asteroid (69406) Martz-Kohl

Contributing Writer
Walt Pickut
Martz-Kohl Observatory Board of Directors

Dr. Carl Hergenrother

A minor planet previously known as 1995 SX48 IAU has been renamed Asteroid (69406) Martz-Kohl. It was first imaged on September 29, 1995 by Carl Hergenrother at Steward Observatory Catalina Station Arizona. The name honors the founders and volunteers at the Martz-Kohl Observatory whose mission is to inform, educate and inspire the general public and supports teaching of astronomy. In 1958, Marshal Martz hand-built one of the largest-ever amateur telescopes and dome, later expanded by Dr. Ronald Kohl’s gift of his telescope and dome.

The first image of Asteroid Martz-Kohl by the observatory was taken on the morning of September 30th, 2021, 26 years after the official discovery.


In a related story just released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, a huge asteroid known as 7482 (1994 PC1) will give Planet Earth a near miss this week, safely whizzing by on Tuesday, January 18 at 4:51 p.m. EST. The 3,400-foot asteroid will zoom by at five lunar distances, its closest approach for the next 200 years, at a top speed of nearly 12 miles per second. Fortunately, Planet Earth is a very small target in a very large solar system.

Discoverer to Speak

On Wednesday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m., the discoverer of Asteroid Martz-Kohl will make a return engagement to the observatory to speak on Observing Comets. Comets live in the deepest reaches of outer space. Some of them visit Earth’s neighborhood only once in one’s lifetime, or even only once in a thousand years or more. Hunting them makes the proverbial needle in a haystack seem easier to find. Yet, Carl Hergenrother has discovered four never-before-seen comets and a more than a dozen asteroids. Some of the more interesting comets discovered in recent years will be presented as well as the science contributed by observers with modest backyard equipment.

Carl is the Coordinator of the Comets Section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, ALPO, and has just begun a term as Executive Director. Earth, unfortunately, is not entirely safe from bombardment from outer space, but professional astronomers like Carl along with amateur sky watchers around the world, have mounted a deep sky search for potentially deadly invaders on a collision course with Earth.

This Zoom webinar is only available online as the observatory is closed through the month of January. More info: Admission is free, but donations are welcome. It’s only through generous public support that MKO can “keep our lights on.”

Dr. Alexandra Yep

Meteors, Meteorites, Meteoroids, Oh My!

On Wednesday, February 16, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Alexandra Yep will explore the origins, appearances, and compositions of “shooting stars,” the brilliant phenomena that have awed and fascinated us for millennia. Learn more about this fascinating presentation and more events at MKO by visiting

Previous articleCWC to Hold Snowshoe Hike & Cross-Country Ski at Cassadaga Creek Preserve
Next articleRing Elementary School 3rd Graders Celebrate Dr. King’s Legacy
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.