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60558 Echeclus

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Discovered by  Spacewatch
Alternative names  2000 EC98, 2002 GJ27
Observation arc  13264 days (36.31 yr)
Inclination  4.3445°
Asteroid group  Centaur
Discovery date  3 March 2000
Minor planet category  Centaur
Discovered  3 March 2000
Orbits  Sun
Discoverer  Spacewatch
60558 Echeclus staticflickrcom451270154107a9ff8fa9aojpg
Pronunciation  /ᵻˈkɛkləs/ e-KEK-ləs or /ˈɛkᵻkləs/ EK-i-kləs
Discovery site  Kitt Peak National Observatory
Similar  166P/NEAT, 52P/Harrington–Abell, 44P/Reinmuth

60558 echeclus icarus a film by sean curtis patrick


60558 Echeclus (e-KEK-ləs or EK-i-kləs) is a centaur in the outer Solar System. It was discovered by Spacewatch in 2000 and initially classified as a minor planet with provisional designation 2000 EC98 (also written 2000 EC98). Research in 2001 by Rousselot and Petit at the Besançon observatory in France showed no evidence of cometary activity, but in late December 2005 a cometary coma was detected. In early 2006 the Committee on Small Bodies Nomenclature (CSBN) gave it the cometary designation 174P/Echeclus. It next comes to perihelion in April 2015, and is expected to reach about apparent magnitude 16.7 near opposition in September 2015.

Contents

Name

Echeclus (Greek: Έχεκλος) is a centaur in Greek mythology.

60558 Echeclus is only the second comet (after Chiron) that was named as a minor planet, rather than after the name of its discoverer. Chiron is also a centaur; other centaurs are being observed for signs of a cometary coma.

Besides Chiron, three other objects are cross-listed as both comets and minor planets: 7968 Elst–Pizarro (133P/Elst–Pizarro), 4015 Wilson–Harrington (107P/Wilson–Harrington), and 118401 LINEAR (176P/LINEAR).

Chunk

On 30 December 2005, when 13.1 AU from the Sun, a large chunk of Echeclus was observed to break off, causing a great cloud of dust. Astronomers have speculated this could have been caused by an impact or by an explosive release of volatile substances.

2011 outburst

Echeclus appears to have outburst again around June 2011 when it was 8.5 AU from the Sun. On 24 June 2011, follow up imaging with the 2 meter Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope South showed the coma of Echeclus to be very close to the sky background limit.

Orbit

Echeclus came to perihelion in April 2015.

Centaurs have short dynamical lives due to strong interactions with the giant planets. Echeclus is estimated to have an orbital half-life of about 610,000 years.

References

60558 Echeclus Wikipedia


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