Young, James W. (1941–)

James W. Young

James Young is an American astronomer who, since 1962, has worked at Table Mountain Observatory (TMO), a facility of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In the 1970s and '80s, Young collaborated with Alan Harris and Ellis Miner (both of JPL), in the study of the rotational rates of asteroids. He was the telescope observer responsible for the successful aiming of lasers to the surface of the Moon in 1968, as well as to Earth orbiting satellites and the Galileo spacecraft, when it was 6 million kilometers from Earth, during the 1990s.


Young is currently the Astronomy Team Leader at TMO, working with the 0.6-meter Cassegrain reflector to recover, follow up, and discover asteroids for JPL's NEAT group and the Minor Planet Center of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He has also discovered nearly 300 main belt asteroids, and two NEOs. Asteroid 2874 was named "Jim Young" in 1985 in honor of his contributions to the physical study of asteroids; at one time, he contributed almost one half of all known asteroidal rotational rate data.