18610 Arthurdent

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18610 Arthurdent
Discovered byStarkenburg Obs.
Discovery siteStarkenburg Obs.
Discovery date7 February 1998
(18610) Arthurdent
Named after
Arthur Dent (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)[2]
1998 CC2 · 1990 EG3
main-belt · (middle)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc28.06 yr (10,248 days)
Aphelion3.0932 AU
Perihelion2.0018 AU
2.5475 AU
4.07 yr (1,485 days)
0° 14m 32.64s / day
Physical characteristics
Dimensions3 km (est. at 0.25)[3]
3.463±0.055 km[4]

18610 Arthurdent (provisional designation 1998 CC2) is an asteroid from the middle region of the asteroid belt, approximately 3.5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 7 February 1998, by a team of astronomers including Felix Hormuth at Starkenburg Observatory in Heppenheim, Germany.[5] The asteroid was named after Arthur Dent from Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.[2]

Orbit and classification[edit]

Arthurdent orbits the Sun in the central main-belt at a distance of 2.0–3.1 AU once every 4 years and 1 month (1,485 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.21 and an inclination of 6° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] The first known precovery image was taken during the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) at Palomar Observatory in 1988, extending the asteroid's observation arc by 10 years prior to its official discovery observation.[5]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Diameter and albedo[edit]

According to the survey carried out by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, Arthurdent measures 3.5 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.234.[4] This agrees with a generic absolute magnitude-to-diameter conversion for a silicaceous asteroid (albedo of 0.25), which gives a diameter of approximately 3 kilometers for an absolute magnitude of 14.3.[3]

Rotation period[edit]

As of 2017, the Arthurdent's composition, rotation period and shape remain unknown.[1][6]


This minor planet was named after Arthur Dent, the bewildered hero of Douglas Adams's radio play and book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.[7] The naming of the asteroid was announced by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) in its Minor Planet Circular on 9 May 2001 (M.P.C. 42677).[8][9] Two days later, Adams died of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California.[10]

Coincidence with death[edit]

The near coincidence of these events led to some media reports of the asteroid naming appearing after Adams's death was reported, and to assumptions that the two events occurred on the same day, even by those connected to the naming: on 14 May 2001, German amateur astronomer Reiner Stoss at the Starkenburg Observatory wrote: "You may have heard the sad news that Douglas Adams passed away last Friday. By accident on the same day the naming of minor planet (18610) Arthurdent was announced by the Minor Planet Center. We wanted to make Mr. Adams a joy, but did never dare to think that he wouldn't be able to receive this surprise, when we sent our name proposal to the MPC a few months back."[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 18610 Arthurdent (1998 CC2)" (2016-10-29 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(18610) Arthurdent". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (18610) Arthurdent. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 853. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_9512. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  3. ^ a b "Absolute Magnitude (H)". NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on 2 March 2001. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; Dailey, J.; et al. (November 2011). "Main Belt Asteroids with WISE/NEOWISE. I. Preliminary Albedos and Diameters". The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 20. arXiv:1109.4096. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...68M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/68. S2CID 118745497. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b "18610 Arthurdent (1998 CC2)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  6. ^ "LCDB Data for (18610) Arthurdent". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  7. ^ Tim Radford (16 May 2001). "Planetary tribute to Hitch Hiker author as Arthurdent named". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  8. ^ "New Names of Minor Planets" (PDF), Minor Planet Circular, no. M.P.C. 42677, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Minor Planet Center, 9 May 2001, ISSN 0736-6884
  9. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Douglas Adams – The more than complete Hitchhikers's Guide". Inert Ramblings. 28 August 2003. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  11. ^ "CCNet 67/2001". Cambridge Conference Correspondence. 14 May 2001. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016.

External links[edit]