Nilerodgers (191911) is nearly 300 million miles away from earth, takes just under six years to complete one full orbit, and now belongs to musician Nile Rodgers.
The Chic founder was honored with the namesake asteroid to mark his 70th birthday on Sept. 19, 2022. The unique gift was arranged by Rodgers’ friend, Simon Lowery, who works at the European Southern Observatory and is affiliated with the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
The potato-shaped asteroid, Nilerodgers (191911), which was first discovered in April 2005, was revealed to the singer, songwriter, and producer during a dinner celebrating his 70th birthday earlier in September.
To obtain the namesake, Lowery went through a formal process with the IAU to have the asteroid officially renamed for Rodgers. The asteroid is approximately one and a quarter miles wide and “would destroy Earth basically,” according to Lowery, if it were to fall out of orbit.
“When you think about movies that you’ve seen in the past, and they talked about ‘We just saw an asteroid and we think that it’s on a trajectory with whatever—oh, that asteroid is Nilerodgers,'” said Rodgers about his unique gift in an interview. “It’s just so crazy. It’s so out of this world..”
He added, “Once you get past the gesture, you’re connected with the love that made it happen. It’s the love, the human emotions, and feelings other people giving back to you, so for my entire life I will hopefully continue to give to others as best I can.”
Rodgers, who was recently on tour with Chic as support for Duran Duran, also marked his 70th birthday with a $1 million endowment to his non-profit We Are Family Foundation, which helps young people achieve their goals by connecting them with brands, mentorships, and other resources.
Photo: Jill Furmanovsky / 42 West PR