171 Ophelia

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171 Ophelia
Discovered by A. Borrelly
Discovery date January 13, 1877
Main belt (Themis)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Aphelion 3.532 AU
Perihelion 2.732 AU
3.132 AU
Eccentricity 0.128
5.54 years
Inclination 2.54°
Physical characteristics
6.66535 hours
Albedo 0.062
Spectral type

171 Ophelia is a large, dark Themistian asteroid that was discovered by French astronomer Alphonse Borrelly on January 13, 1877, and named after the fictional character Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

This asteroid is a member of the Themis family of asteroids that share similar orbital elements.[2] It probably has a primitive composition, similar to that of the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.

A 1979 study of the Algol-like light curve produced by this asteroid concluded that it was possible to model the brightness variation by assuming a binary system with a circular orbit, a period of 13.146 hours, and an inclination of 15° to the line of sight from the Earth.[3] Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Leura Observatory in Leura, Australia during 2006 gave a rotation period of 6.6666 ± 0.0002 hours and a brightness variation of 0.50 ± 0.02 in magnitude. This is in agreement with previous studies.[4]

Ophelia is also the name of a moon of Uranus.


  1. ^ Yeomans, Donald K., "171 Ophelia", JPL Small-Body Database Browser (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  2. ^ Moore, Patrick; Rees, Robin, eds. (2011), Patrick Moore's Data Book of Astronomy (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 165. 
  3. ^ Wijesinghe, M. P.; Tedesco, E. F. (December 1979), "A test of plausibility of eclipsing binary asteroids", Icarus 40: 383–393, Bibcode:1979Icar...40..383W, doi:10.1016/0019-1035(79)90031-9. 
  4. ^ Oey, Julian (December 2006), "Lightcurves analysis of 10 asteroids from Leura Observatory", Bulletin of the Minor Planets Section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers 33 (4): 96–99, Bibcode:2006MPBu...33...96O.