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12374 Rakhat

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Discovered by  C. P. de Saint-Aignan
MPC designation  12374 Rakhat
Discovered  15 May 1994
Inclination  8.9862°
Discovery site  Palomar Observatory
Discovery date  15 May 1994
Minor planet category  main-belt · (middle)
Aphelion  3.33 m
Orbits  Sun
Asteroid group  Asteroid belt
12374 Rakhat
Named after  fictional planet (novel The Sparrow)
Alternative names  1994 JG9 · 1958 TP 1974 OP · 1978 NV2
Discoverer  Charles P. de Saint-Aignan

12374 Rakhat, provisional designation 1994 JG9, is an eccentric, stony asteroid from the middle region of the asteroid belt, approximately 4.5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 15 May 1994, by American astronomer and software engineer Charles de Saint-Aignan at the U.S. Palomar Observatory in California.

The S-type asteroid orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.8–3.3 AU once every 4 years and 1 month (1,487 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.31 and an inclination of 9° with respect to the ecliptic. The first precovery was taken at Palomar Observatory in 1954, extending the asteroid's observation arc by 40 years prior to its discovery.

A rotational light-curve was obtained from photometric observations made at the U.S. Palomar Transient Factory in May 2010. It gave a rotation period of 7001181702000000000♠18.1702±0.0205 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.31 in magnitude (U=2). According to the survey carried out by the NEOWISE mission of NASA's space-based Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the asteroid measures 4.6 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.21, while the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes a standard albedo for stony asteroids of 0.20 and calculates a diameter of 4.4 kilometers.

The minor planet was named "Rakhat" after the fictional planet in the novel The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. The novel begins in 2019, when SETI at the Arecibo, picks up radio broadcasts of music from this planet in the vicinity of Alpha Centauri. The first expedition is organized by the Jesuit order, known for its missionary, linguistic and scientific activities. The novel was followed by the sequel Children of God. Naming citation was published on 28 March 2002 (M.P.C. 45234).


12374 Rakhat Wikipedia

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