|Discovered by||Johann Palisa|
|Discovery date||October 25, 1888|
|1927 EC, 1954 FF, A920 GA, A923 RA|
|Asteroid belt (Thule)|
|Epoch 27 August 2011 (JD 2455800.5)|
|8.8316810 a (3225.7715 d)|
|Dimensions||126.6 ± 3.7 km (IRAS)|
279 Thule (// THEW-lee) is a large asteroid from the asteroid belt. It is classified as a D-type asteroid and is probably composed of organic-rich silicates, carbon and anhydrous silicates. Thule was the first asteroid discovered with a semi-major axis greater than 4 AU. It was discovered by Johann Palisa on October 25, 1888 in Vienna and was named aptly after the ultimate northern land of Thule.
Thule was the first discovered member of the Thule dynamical group, which as of 2008 is known to consist of three objects: 279 Thule, (186024) 2001 QG207, and (185290) 2006 UB219. The orbits of these bodies are unusual. They orbit in the outermost edge of the asteroid belt in a 4:3 orbital resonance with Jupiter, the result of the periodic force Jupiter exerts on a body with Thule's orbital period, in the same way (though with the reverse effect) as the Kirkwood gaps in the more inner parts of the asteroid belt.
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