|Discovered by||Starkenburg team
incl. Felix Hormuth
|Discovery site||Starkenburg Obs.|
|Discovery date||7 February 1998|
|MPC designation||18610 Arthurdent|
|Arthur Dent (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)|
|1998 CC2 · 1990 EG3|
|Orbital characteristics |
|Epoch 31 July 2016 (JD 2457600.5)|
|Uncertainty parameter 0|
|Observation arc||26.78 yr (9,780 days)|
|4.07 yr (1,485 days)|
|0° 14m 32.64s / day|
|Dimensions||±1 km (est. at 40.20)|
18610 Arthurdent, provisional designation 1998 CC2, is an asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt. It was discovered by a team of German astronomers including Felix Hormuth at Starkenburg Observatory in Heppenheim on 7 February 1998. It is named after Arthur Dent from Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.
The asteroid orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.0–3.1 AU once every 1,485 days. Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.21 and an inclination of 6° with respect to the plane of the ecliptic. The first known precovery image was taken during Palomar's Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) in 1988, extending the asteroid's observation arc by 10 years prior to its discovery.
As of 2016, the asteroid's effective size, its composition and albedo, as well as its rotation period and shape remain unknown. Based on an absolute magnitude of 14.3, the asteroid measures between 3 and 8 kilometers in diameter, assuming an albedo in the range of 0.05 to 0.25. Since asteroids in the inner main-belt are often of a silicaceous rather than of a carbonaceous composition, with higher albedos, typically around 0.20, the asteroid's diameter is likely to be in the range of 3 to 5 kilometers.
The asteroid is named after Arthur Dent, the bewildered hero of Douglas Adams's radio play and book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The naming of the asteroid was announced by the Minor Planet Center in its Minor Planet Circular on 9 May 2001 (M.P.C. 42677). Two days later, Adams died of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California. 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."
- "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 18610 Arthurdent (1998 CC2)" (2015-07-19 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (18610) Arthurdent. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 853. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "18610 Arthurdent (1998 CC2)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Absolute Magnitude (H)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Tim Radford (16 May 2001). "Planetary tribute to Hitch Hiker author as Arthurdent named". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "New Names of Minor Planets" (PDF), Minor Planet Circular, Cambridge, Mass: Minor Planet Center (M.P.C. 42677), May 9, 2001, ISSN 0736-6884
- "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Douglas Adams – The more than complete Hitchhikers's Guide". Inert Ramblings. 28 August 2003. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "CCNet 67/2001". Cambridge Conference Correspondence. 14 May 2001. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB), query form (info)
- Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Google books
- Asteroids and comets rotation curves, CdR – Observatoire de Genève, Raoul Behrend
- Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (15001)-(20000) – Minor Planet Center
- 18610 Arthurdent at the JPL Small-Body Database