|Discovered by E. Delporte|
MPC designation 1052 Belgica
Minor planet category main-belt · Flora
Asteroid family Flora family
|Discovery date 15 November 1925|
Named after Belgium (country)
Discovered 15 November 1925
Discoverer Eugène Joseph Delporte
Asteroid group Asteroid belt
|Alternative names 1925 VD · 1965 UO1A908 TB|
Discovery site Royal Observatory of Belgium
Similar 1056 Azalea, 1089 Tama, 1002 Olbersia, 1338 Duponta, 317 Roxane
1052 Belgica, provisional designation 1925 VD, is a binary Florian asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 10 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 15 November 1925, by Belgian astronomer Eugène Delporte at Uccle Observatory in Belgium. It is named for the Western European state of Belgium.
Belgica is a S-type asteroid and member of the Flora family, one of the largest groups of stony asteroids in the main-belt. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.9–2.6 AU once every 3 years and 4 months (1,222 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.14 and an inclination of 5° with respect to the ecliptic. Belgica was first identified as A908 TB at Heidelberg in 1908. The body's observation arc begins with its first used observation taken at Uccle/Bergedorf in 1933, or 8 years after its official discovery at Uccle.
Between December 2012, and January 2013, photometric observations of Belgica were taken at several observatories in Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and the United States. They gave three concurring lightcurves with a rotation period of 2.709 hours and a brightness variation of 0.08 to 0.10 magnitude, indicating a nearly spheroidal shape for the asteroid's body (U=2/3/n.a.). The observations also revealed, that it is a binary system with an asteroid moon, about 36% the diameter of its primary, orbiting it every 7001472600000000000♠47.26±0.02 hours.
According to the survey carried out by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, Belgica measures 9.78 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.301, while the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes a standard albedo for stony asteroids of 0.20 and derives a diameter of 10.94 kilometers using an absolute magnitude of 12.17.
This minor planet was named in honor of the state of Belgium and the first minor planet discovered at Uccle Observatory, after which the minor planet 1276 Ucclia was named. The name "Belgica" was suggested during the height of World War I by American astronomer Joel Hastings Metcalf, but the Director of the German Astronomisches Rechen-Institut in Berlin, Fritz Cohn, rejected the proposal based on political considerations, as Belgium was occupied by German troops at the time. In his Dictionary of Minor Planets Names, astronomer Lutz Schmadel described this piece of history involving minor planet names in detail. Naming citation was first mentioned in The Names of the Minor Planets by Paul Herget in 1955 (H 100).