1868 Thersites

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1868 Thersites
Discovery [1]
Discovered by Palomar–Leiden survey
C. J. van Houten, I. van Houten-Groeneveld and Tom Gehrels
Discovery site Palomar Obs.
Discovery date 24 September 1960
MPC designation 1868 Thersites
Named after
2008 P–L · 1972 RB2
Jupiter trojan
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 27 June 2015 (JD 2457200.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 61.13 yr (22,329 days)
Aphelion 5.8977 AU
Perihelion 4.7429 AU
5.3203 AU
Eccentricity 0.1085
12.27 yr (4,482 days)
Inclination 16.753°
Physical characteristics
10.416 h

1868 Thersites, also designated 2008 P–L, is a Jupiter trojan asteroid that orbits in the L4 Lagrangian point of the SunJupiter system, in the Greek camp of Jupiter trojan. It was discovered by Cornelis van Houten, Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld and Tom Gehrels on September 24, 1960 at Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 4.7–5.9 AU once every 12.27 years (4,482 days) and has a rotation period of 10.4 hours.[1]

Photometric observations of this asteroid during 1994 were used to build a light curve showing a rotation period of 10.416 ± 0.014 hours with a brightness variation of 0.14 ± 0.01 magnitude.[3]

The designation P–L stands for Palomar–Leiden, named after Palomar Observatory and Leiden Observatory, which collaborated on the fruitful Palomar–Leiden survey in the 1960s. Gehrels used Palomar's Samuel Oschin telescope (also known as the 48-inch Schmidt Telescope), and shipped the photographic plates to Cornelis Johannes van Houten and Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld at Leiden Observatory. The trio are credited with several thousand asteroid discoveries.

The Trojan asteroid is named after Thersites, a Greek warrior who wanted to abandon Troy's siege and head home. The given name refers to the fact that the asteroid was discovered farthest from the Trojan libration point.[2]

1869 Philoctetes was also discovered the same day by the same group.


  1. ^ a b c "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 1868 Thersites (2008 P-L)" (2015-05-16 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1868) Thersites. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 150. ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7. Retrieved October 2015. 
  3. ^ Mottola, Stefano; Di Martino, Mario; Erikson, Anders; Gonano-Beurer, Maria; Carbognani, Albino; Carsenty, Uri; Hahn, Gerhard; Schober, Hans-Josef; Lahulla, Felix; Delbò, Marco; Lagerkvist, Claes-Ingvar (May 2011). "Rotational Properties of Jupiter Trojans. I. Light Curves of 80 Objects". The Astronomical Journal 141 (5): 170. Bibcode:2011AJ....141..170M. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/141/5/170. 

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