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Asteroid named after Hawaii County traffic engineer

Hawaii County Traffic Division Chief Ronald Thiel knows lights. Much of his work focuses on keeping local streets safe with street lights, traffic lights and hazard lights.

He also knows where lights are not helpful – when light pollution interferes with the work of astronomers and the lives of native wildlife.

For Thiel’s work preserving “dark skies” in Hawaii County, an asteroid was recently named in his honor – 9923 ronaldthiel.

The asteroid naming ceremony took place on Sept. 28, presented by Dr. Richard Wainscoat of the University of Hawaii at a meeting of the Mauna Kea User’s Committee in Hilo, a county news release stated. The asteroid was first discovered by astronomer Bobby Bus on March 7, 1981, with an orbit of 1,723…

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