42 (Number) just might be the longest Wikipedia page for a single number integer.

In the Astronomy subsection of that article it says:

In January 2004, asteroid 2001 DA42 was given the permanent name 25924 Douglasadams, for the author Douglas Adams who popularized the number 42. Adams died in 2001. Brian G. Marsden, the director of the Minor Planet Center and the secretary for the naming committee, remarked that, with even his initials in the provisional designation, "This was sort of made for him, wasn't it?".

Did the temporary name DA42 arise naturally? Was there a whole series of DA's and when 42 came up someone jumped on it, or was getting the original temporary name of DA42 helped along somehow in order to make it available for later conversion to 25924 Douglasadams?

potentially related and/or helpful:

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    $\begingroup$ I just realized 42 = 6*7 which might've been part of Adam's motivation of combining 666 and 777 into one number. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


There are other asteroids with provisional designation DA42.

"D" means the second half of February, A=1 and 42 means the letters A-Z (excluding J) have been assigned 42 times.

2001 DA42 indicates the 42*25+1 = 1051st asteroid given a provisional designation in the second half of February of 2001. And in each year that there are 1051 or more asteroids discovered in the second half of February, there will be a DA42.

For example there is 2006 DA42, 2010 DA42, and 2017 DA42

Indeed 2001 was not the first time that DA42 had been reached, but it later transpired that 2000 DA42 was actually an asteroid that had first been catalogued in 1998. Moreover, 2001 DA42 had previously been recorded in 1997 (in precovery images) and had even received the designation 1999 VX149 when it was discovered 1999.

So the temporary name arose naturally.

  • $\begingroup$ Excellent, so DA₄₂ is a "renewable resource" in case other beloved SciFi authors with the same initials and remembered for another instance of "42" pass away. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 9:23
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    $\begingroup$ pterry already has 127005, So 2015 TP8 can't be assigned to him. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Small-Body Database Lookup $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 17:24

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