Asteroid named after local fossil finder

© 2017-Kemmerer Gazette

Carl Ulrich holds up the certificate from the International Astronomical Union stating an asteroid has been named after him. Carl and his wife Shirley have operated Ulrich’s Fossil Gallery since 1947. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)

Carl and his wife Shirley  own Ulrich’s Fossil Gallery, near Fossil Butte National Monument.

The gallery opened in 1947, and the Ulrichs have been collecting and preparing fossils ever since.

Carl Ulrich recently added something else to his resume when he learned an asteroid was named after him.

Asteroid 2004 CG109 has been officially designated 90480 Ulrich by the International Astronomical Union and the Minor Planet Center at Harvard Center for Astrophysics.

The Ulrichs are known for being one of the first modern commercial fossil galleries in the Kemmerer area, and for their unique meticulous fossil preparation techniques.

“Carl just has an amazing talent for fossil preparation,” Ulrich’s wife Shirley said. “It was never really work to us because we loved it so much.”

The official certification reads: “This asteroid was discovered 2004 Feb. 15  by the Catalina Sky Survey. Carl Ulrich (b. 1925) is a fossil preparatory, known for his work on the fossils of the Green River Formation of Wyoming. He has instructed hundreds of people in his preparation techniques. His fossils can be seen in museums worldwide and at his gallery just outside the southern boundary of Fossil Butte National Monument.”

Asteroid 90480 Ulrich is about four km wide with a 17-year orbit period around the sun. The asteroid naming is scientifically recognized by the International Astronomical Union and NASA.

If NASA ever sends a spacecraft to the asteroid, the spacecraft will be called Ulrich.

Ulrich’s fossils are featured in New York’s Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the University of Wyoming Museum and Geology Department, Fossil Butte National Monument, Rutgers University and Princeton University.