1647 Menelaus

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1647 Menelaus
Discovery [1]
Discovered by S. B. Nicholson
Discovery site Mount Wilson Obs.
Discovery date 23 June 1957
MPC designation 1647 Menelaus
Named after
(Greek mythology)[2]
1957 MK
Jupiter trojan[1][3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 13 January 2016 (JD 2457400.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 64.33 yr (23497 days)
Aphelion 5.3330 AU (797.81 Gm)
Perihelion 5.0981 AU (762.66 Gm)
5.2156 AU (780.24 Gm)
Eccentricity 0.022519
11.91 yr (4350.61 d)
0° 4m 57.889s / day
Inclination 5.6492°
Earth MOID 4.10422 AU (613.983 Gm)
Jupiter MOID 0.159837 AU (23.9113 Gm)
Jupiter Tisserand parameter 2.990
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 44.22 km (calculated)[3]
17.75 h (0.740 d)[a][1]
17.7390±0.0198 h[4]
0.057 (assumed)[3]

1647 Menelaus, provisional designation 1957 MK, is a carbonaceous asteroid, about 44 kilometers in diameter. It is a Jupiter Trojan that shares the orbit of the gas giant Jupiter. It was discovered by American astronomer Seth Nicholson at Mount Wilson Observatory northeast of Los Angeles, California, on 23 June 1957.[5]

The C-type Trojan asteroid orbits in the so-called Greek Camp – the L4 Lagrangian point of the Sun–Jupiter system. It therefore orbits the Sun at a distance of 5.1–5.3 AU once every 11 years and 11 months (4,352 days). Its orbit also shows a low eccentricity of 0.02 that is tilted by 6 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic. It has a rotation period of 17.7 hours[a][4] and an assumed albedo of 0.057.[3]

The Trojan asteroid was named after the Greek mythological figure, Menelaus, husband of Helen of Troy, brother of Agamemnon, and king and leader of the Spartan contingent of the Greek army during the Trojan War. The name was selected by the discoverer to enable another of the famous Greek heroes to join the majority of his compatriots in the camp to the east of Jupiter. The Dictionary of Minor Planet Names also mentions that the lunar crater Menelaus was named after the Greek hero.[2] However, based on the official International Astronomical Union–WGPSN nomenclature, it is named after Greek geometer and astronomer Menelaus of Alexandria (70–140).[6]


  1. ^ a b Stephens (2014) web: rotation period of 17.75±0.02 with an amplitude of 0.17. Summary figures at Asteroid Lightcurve Database for (1647) Menelaus
  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 1647 Menelaus (1957 MK)" (2015-07-13 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1647) Menelaus. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 131. ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7. Retrieved November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "LCDB Data for (1647) Menelaus". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Waszczak, Adam; Chang, Chan-Kao; Ofek, Eran O.; Laher, Russ; Masci, Frank; et al. (September 2015). "Asteroid Light Curves from the Palomar Transient Factory Survey: Rotation Periods and Phase Functions from Sparse Photometry". The Astronomical Journal 150 (3): 35. arXiv:1504.04041. Bibcode:2015AJ....150...75W. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/75. Retrieved November 2015. 
  5. ^ "1647 Menelaus (1957 MK)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature – Planetary Names: Crater, craters: Menelaus on Moon". International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN). Retrieved November 2015. 

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