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Deadwood gets its very own asteroid - and it’s astronomically big

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 11:39 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In the late 1800′s gold miners tripped over what would become the historical Town of Deadwood.

It was during the American gold rush excursions that American miners found a valley full of gold and petrified trees.

This previously undiscovered treasure trove became a supernova of dreams realized. Deadwood, S.D., would become a site that would make its name on America’s historical map as a haven for fortune-hunters and rabble rousers alike.

The outlaws who speckle the history and folklore of America’s Wild West are the folks who sealed Deadwoods’s place in America’s history. Western gunfighter Wild Bill Hickock and other fortune-hunters became almost mythologically synonymous with Deadwood’s name.

Ronald Dyvig was just 11-years-old when, in the late 1950s, while attending school in Deadwood, his interest in Astronomy began.

On a January night in 2001, Dyvig observed and recorded a Main Belt Asteroid, measuring a gargantuan approximation of two miles in diameter, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Although his newly discovered asteroid is indeed formidable in size, for comparison, the asteroid that hit the earth some 66-million-years-ago was a whopping ten-miles-wide, and we know the damage that caused.

Still, if a two-mile wide space-rock like Dyvig’s were to slam into the Earth, it would be travelling at approximately 60,000 mph - or the equivalent of a 2 million megaton bomb. So although in our solar system’s Main Belt, asteroids range in size from the very largest - 590 Miles in width (that’s Ceres), to a diminutive 0.6 miles across, you can bet the farm that Ronald Dyvig’s treasured two-mile one would expunge the majority of life on our planet.

Once confirmed, Dyvig was granted the privilege of suggesting a name for his discovery: Asteroid (123794).

During a Deadwood High School alumni reunion, several of his childhood classmates suggested the discovery be named in honor of the beloved community in the State which they spent their formative years – Deadwood, South Dakota. Dyvig agreed that the asteroid should be named after the place in his life where his hunger for knowledge of the cosmos began. Much like the giant space rock he discovered, his roots seem close and yet timeless.

Ronald Dyvig will be presenting City of Deadwood with a plaque honoring this awesome space discovery which Ronald Dyvig discovered, much like his ancestors had when they went searching for gold and stumbled upon Deadwood in Dakota Territory. On behalf of himself and the Graduating Class of 1961, Dyvig will be there to reveal the Main Belt Asteroid’s official name. “Asteroid (123794) Deadwood”.

Look up!

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