The International Astronomical Union has named the asteroid provisionally designated as 1993 FE15 after Sky & Telescope’s Consulting Editor Gary Seronik: 20046 Seronik.

A dot of light marks the 5.3-kilometer asteroid Seronik
The asteroid 20046 Seronik, a 5.3-kilometer space rock orbiting in the main belt, as photographed by Alan Hale.

The International Astronomical Union has named asteroid 20046 Seronik (1993 FE15) in honor of Sky & Telescope Consulting Editor Gary Seronik. The IAU announcement suggests, correctly, that Seronik has been communicating astronomy to amateur astronomers and the public for many years.

Born and raised in Canada, Seronik has been fascinated by the night sky since childhood. “The truth is,” he comments, “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to the night sky. Maybe part of the reason was that my family lived on an orchard under a splendid, dark rural sky.”

His birth on May 5, 1961, coincided with NASA astronaut Alan Shepard becoming the first American to rocket into space. As a child, Seronik devoured magazine articles on the space program and collected books on astronomy. He bought his first telescope, a Tasco 3-inch reflector, in 1972 — and still has it. He began subscribing to Sky & Telescope magazine in 1973 when he was only 12 years old.

Seronik’s career got underway in the early 1990s when he wrote and produced planetarium shows at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Seronik’s first column for S&T appeared in the June 1997 issue, and he became an Associate Editor the following year. Throughout this period, Seronik was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and in 2008 he won the RASC Simon Newcomb Award for excellence in astronomical writing. Seronik was a Contributing Editor at S&T in 2016 when he became Editor of the Canadian bimonthly magazine, SkyNews. In November 2019, he rejoined S&T full-time.

Seronik loves making telescopes. He has ground mirrors for numerous home-built reflectors, several of which have appeared in the pages of S&T. Readers might remember his 6-inch f/9 planetary Newtonian, or his airline-friendly 8-inch and 12¾-inch Dobsonian “travelscopes.” It was almost inevitable that Seronik would take on the magazine's telescope-making department and later develop the Telescope Workshop column (now Astronomer’s Workbench, helmed by Jerry Oltion).

Seronik is also the longest-running author of the Binocular Highlights column, which in turn inspired his best-selling book Binocular Highlights: 109 Celestial Sights for Binocular Users. What’s more, he helped develop S&T’s very popular Pocket Sky Atlas.

Seronik’s favorite sky target is the Moon. A dedicated lunaphile, he served as editor for the 2004 edition of Antonín Rükl’s classic Atlas of the Moon and also for Charles A. Wood’s highly regarded book, The Modern Moon. But of all the Moon products Seronik has helped bring to fruition, he’s proudest of Sky & Telescope’Field Map of the Moon, which he regards as an ideal telescopic companion for lunar observers.

A main-belt asteroid approximately 5.3 kilometers wide (3.3 miles), 20046 Seronik was discovered at the ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile on March 17, 1993, as part of the Uppsala-ESO Survey of Asteroids and Comets.

The newly named space rock joins a long list of  S&T-inspired asteroids (including asteroids named both for staff and for contributing editors and photographers):

  • 2157 Ashbrook
  • 2925 Beatty
  • 3031 Houston
  • 3243 Skytel
  • 3637 O'Meara
  • 3706 Sinnott
  • 3819 Robinson
  • 3872 Akirafujii
  • 3841 Dicicco
  • 4673 Bortle
  • 4726 Federer
  • 5943 Lovi
  • 6282 Edwelda
  • 7065 Fredschaaf
  • 7116 Mentall
  • 7228 MacGillivray
  • 8146 Jimbell
  • 9983 Rickfienberg
  • 9984 Gregbryant
  • 10153 Goldman
  • 10373 Macrobert
  • 10596 Stevensimpson
  • 10986 Govert
  • 11132 Horne
  • 12539 Chaikin
  • 12780 Salamony
  • 16037 Sheehan
  • 17638 Sualan
  • 20009 Joerao
  • 20046 Seronik
  • 21330 Alanwhitman
  • 22410 Grinspoon
  • 78434 Dyer
  • 274860 Emilylakdawalla
  • 276163 Tafreshi
  • 323552 Trudybell
  • 363115 Chuckwood

In addition to being adept at astrophotography, Gary Seronik is an avid terrestrial photographer who never leaves home without a camera. Today, that home is in the small city of Penticton, British Columbia, where he and his wife, Ellen, are close to the wonders of nature and the night sky.


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Bob King

November 22, 2023 at 12:12 pm

Congratulations, Gary! This is wonderful news and a well-deserved acknowledgement of your passion for and contributions to astronomy. I only wish it were bright enough for me to observe! Never knew your favorite was the Moon. Keep up the great work.

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November 25, 2023 at 6:09 pm

Not only that, but his asteroid lies less that 9 degrees from the Sun on eclipse day April 8, 2024!!! Mine (28475 Garrett) is 101 degrees away, I'm jealous 🙂
Let's wave at each other's named rocks and enjoy the eclipse as few can,with
names in the sky!

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November 23, 2023 at 1:01 pm

Thank you, Mr. Hewitt-White.

I concur with Bob's comment. In addition, I and others appreciate Gary's help, generosity and friendship over the years. Something to be thankful for today!

Congratulations Gary!


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November 24, 2023 at 9:46 pm

Thanks for the nice article, Mr. Hewitt-White.

I really appreciated Gary Seronik's book "Binocular Highlights". It helped me to understand finding deep sky objects and other treasures of the night sky like double stars. I also enjoyed the time when he was editor of the Canadian SkyNews Magazine.

Warm regards,

Gerhard Salhenegger

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November 24, 2023 at 11:49 pm

Congratulations for all your contributions!

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November 25, 2023 at 11:35 am

Congrats, Gary.

But there are more that 13 S&T-inspired minor planet names. The list omitted 12780 Salamony, 10596 Stevensimpson, and my favorite, 10153 Goldman.

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Monica Young

November 27, 2023 at 8:51 am

Thank you, Stuart! We've updated the list with those names. May S&T's legacy rock on!

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November 27, 2023 at 6:29 pm

Congrats Mr. Seronik. A very well deserved acknowledgment of your lifelong passion and contributions to astronomy. Well done!

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