1996 Adams, provisional designation 1961 UA, is a stony Eunomia asteroid from the middle region of the asteroid belt, approximately 13 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 16 October 1961, by the Indiana Asteroid Program at Goethe Link Observatory near Brooklyn, Indiana, United States.
The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link (CALL) classifies Adams as a member of the Eunomia family, a large group of S-type asteroids and the most prominent family in the intermediate main-belt. However, based on its concurring orbital elements, Alvarez-Candal from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, groups the asteroid into the Maria family, which is named after 170 Maria (also see 9175 Graun).
The S-type asteroid orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.2–2.9 AU once every 4 years and 1 month (1,496 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.14 and an inclination of 15° with respect to the ecliptic. Adams was first identified as 1932 RM at Johannesburg Observatory. It first used observation was a precovery made at the discovering observatory just ten days prior to the official discovery observation.
Based upon a large number of measurements of its light-curve, the body has a relatively fast rotation period of 7000331100000000000♠3.311 hours. The light-curves had a variation in brightness in the range of 0.40 to 0.46 magnitude (U=3/3/3/3). Similar periods were obtained by additional light curves (U=1/3/2+). According to the surveys carried out by the Japanese Akari satellite and NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, Adams measures between 10.1 and 13.5 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo between 0.141 and 0.395. The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes an albedo of 0.21 – derived from 15 Eunomia, the family's largest member and namesake – and calculates a diameter of 13.9 kilometers based on an absolute magnitude of 11.6.
The minor planet is named after John Couch Adams (1819–1892), British mathematician and astronomer, who predicted the existence and position of Neptune, simultaneously with French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier, (also see 1997 Leverrier). The lunar crater Adams is also named in his honour. Naming citation was published before November 1977 (M.P.C. 4237).