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The Planet
Pass the Telescope... and the Brandy

Chesley Bonestell had both an asteroid and a cocktail named in his honor.

Chesley BonestellThat's right. The asteroid formerly known as (3129)1979MK2 is now officially called "Bonestell" (pronounced BONN-i-stell), the same name as a certain beverage involving brandy and vermouth.

Bonestell, a pioneer in the field of space art, died in 1986, and his wife Hulda, a landscape photographer, passed away in 1999. Both were long-time Sierra Club members from California. The Sierra Club Foundation will receive more than $750,000 from the couple's estate during the next two years.

At one time Hollywood's highest-paid special-effects artist, Chesley Bonestell worked on such classics as "Citizen Kane," "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "War of the Worlds." But he's best known for his paintings of moonscapes, views of planets from other planets and rockets blasting off for distant galaxies.

According to an essay by archivist Ron Miller, when the asteroid was named after Bonestell, Carl Sagan said, " is only fitting that we give back a world to Bonestell, who has given us so many." And when Bonestell was asked if he'd have preferred to have a crater on the moon named for him, he shook his head and said, "An asteroid is a flying mountain. I go around the sun."

Each year, a significant portion of the Club's conservation work - both national and local - is supported by bequests. For help in planning a bequest or other deferred gift, contact John Calaway, the Sierra Club's director of gift planning at (415) 977-5639;

To read more about Chesley and Hulda Bonestell - and find out how to make that cocktail - go to

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