56 Melete (/ˈmɛlᵻtiː/ MEL-i-tee) is a large and dark main belt asteroid. It is a rather unusual P-type asteroid, probably composed of organic rich silicates, carbon and anhydrous silicates, with possible internal water ice.
Melete was discovered by Hermann Goldschmidt from his balcony in Paris, on September 9, 1857. It orbit was computed by E. Schubert, who named it after Melete, the Muse of meditation in Greek mythology. It was originally confused for 41 Daphne before it was confirmed not to be by its second sighting on August 27, 1871. In 1861, the brightness of 56 Melete was shown to vary by German astronomer Friedrich Tietjen.
To date, two stellar occultations by Melete have been observed successfully (in 1997 and again in 2002).
Melete has been studied by radar. Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Palmer Divide Observatory in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2007 gave a light curve with a period of 18.151 ± 0.002 hours and a brightness variation of 0.15 ± 0.02 in magnitude. This result is in agreement with a period of 18.1 hours independently reported in 1993 and 2007.