|Discovery date 19 June 1950|
Alternative names 1950 LA
Discovered 19 June 1950
Asteroid group Amor asteroid
|MPC designation 1980 Tezcatlipoca|
Minor planet category Amor · NEO
Aphelion 2.33 m
Discovery site Palomar Observatory
|Discovered by A. G. Wilson
Named after Tezcatlipoca (Aztec creator god)
Discoverers Åke Wallenquist, Albert George Wilson
Similar Albert George Wilson discoveries, Other celestial objects
1980 Tezcatlipoca, provisional designation 1950 LA, is an eccentric, stony asteroid, classified as a near-Earth object of the Amor group of asteroids, approximately 6 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 19 June 1950, by American astronomer Albert G. Wilson and Swedish astronomer Åke Wallenquist at the U.S. Palomar Observatory in California.
The S-type asteroid is classified as a Sw-type by the ExploreNEOs project, and as a SU and Sl-type on the Tholen and SMASS taxonomic scheme, respectively. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.1–2.3 AU once every 2 years and 3 months (816 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.36 and an inclination of 27° with respect to the ecliptic. Its Earth minimum orbit intersection distance is slightly less than 0.246 AU (36,800,000 km), which corresponds to 96 lunar distances.
Between 1988 and 2015, five rotational light-curves were obtained for this asteroid from photometric observations and gave a well-defined, concurring rotation period of 7.25 hours with a brightness variation between 0.22 and 1.01 in magnitude, indicative of a non-spheroidal shape (U=3/n.a./2+/3-/n.a.).
According to the surveys carried out by the Japanese Akari satellite, and NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, the asteroid measures between 4.5 and 6.0 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo between 0.128 and 0.247. The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link agrees with the revised NEOWISE observations, that is, an albedo of 0.128 and a diameter of 6.0 kilometers, based on an absolute magnitude of 13.96.
The asteroid was named after Tezcatlipoca, the Aztech deity of matter, whose name translates to "Smoking Mirror" in the Nahuatl language. His animal counterpart was the jaguar and his contender was Quetzálcoatl, after which the minor planet 1915 Quetzálcoatl is named. Both deities are Aztec creator gods and were depicted as twin serpents that coil round each other to produce time. Naming citation was published before November 1977 (M.P.C. 4237).