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121 Hermione

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Discovered by  James Craig Watson
Alternative names  1970 VE
Aphelion  588.328 Gm (3.933 AU)
Orbits  Sun
Discoverer  James Craig Watson
Moon  S/2002 (121) 1
Discovery date  1872-05-12
Minor planet category  Main belt (Cybele)
Discovered  12 May 1872
Spectral type  C-type asteroid
Named after  Hermione
121 Hermione httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Pronunciation  /hərˈmaɪ.əniː/ hər-MY-ə-nee
Similar  James Craig Watson discoveries, Other celestial objects

Asteroid 121 hermione large avi


121 Hermione is a very large asteroid discovered in 1872. It orbits in the Cybele group in the far outer asteroid belt. As an asteroid of the dark C spectral type, it is probably composed of carbonaceous materials. In 2002, a small moon was found to be orbiting Hermione.

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Discovery

Hermione was discovered by J. C. Watson on May 12, 1872, from Ann Arbor, and named after Hermione, daughter of Menelaus and Helen in Greek mythology.

Orbit and moon

Hermione is a Cybele asteroid and orbits beyond most of the main-belt asteroids.

A satellite of Hermione was discovered in 2002 with the Keck II telescope. It is about 8 miles (13 km) in diameter. The satellite is provisionally designated S/2002 (121) 1. It has not yet been officially named, but "LaFayette" has been proposed by a group of astronomers in reference to the frigate used in secret by the Marquis de Lafayette to reach America to help the insurgents.

Physical properties

The asteroid has a bi-lobed shape, as evidenced by adaptive optics images, the first of which were taken in December 2003 with the Keck telescope. Of several proposed shape models that agreed with the images, a "snowman"-like shape was found to best fit the observed precession rate of Hermione's satellite. In this "snowman" model, the asteroid's shape can be approximated by two partially overlapping spheres of radii 80 and 60 km, whose centers are separated by a distance of 115 km. A simple ellipsoid shape was ruled out.

Observation of the satellite's orbit has made possible an accurate determination of Hermione's mass. For the best-fit "snowman" model, the density is found to be 1.8 ± 0.2 g/cm³, giving a porosity on the order of 20%, and possibly indicating that the main components are fractured solid bodies, rather than the asteroid being a rubble pile.

Occultations by Hermione have been successfully observed three times so far, the last time in February 2004.

References

121 Hermione Wikipedia


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