2044 Wirt

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2044 Wirt
Discovery [1]
Discovered by C. A. Wirtanen
Discovery site Lick Obs.
Discovery date 8 November 1950
MPC designation 2044 Wirt
Named after
Carl Wirtanen
(discoverer himself)[2]
1950 VE
Mars-crosser[1][3] · Phocaea[4]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 16 February 2017 (JD 2457800.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 65.97 yr (24,095 days)
Aphelion 3.1981 AU
Perihelion 1.5633 AU
2.3807 AU
Eccentricity 0.3433
3.67 yr (1,342 days)
0° 16m 5.88s / day
Inclination 23.969°
Known satellites 1 [5][6] (: 2 km; p: 19.0 h)
Earth MOID 0.6553 AU
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 6.65 km (calculated)[4]
6.66±0.6 km (IRAS:2)[7]
3.6895±0.0003 h[8]
3.6898 h[9]
3.690±0.00005 h[5]
3.6900±0.0003 h[10]
0.1907±0.038 (IRAS:2)[7]
0.23 (assumed)[4]
12.838±0.002 (R)[8] · 13.1[1][4] · 13.3[7]

2044 Wirt, provisional designation 1950 VE, is a binary[6] Phocaea asteroid classified as a Mars-crosser, approximately 6.7 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 8 November 1950, by American astronomer Carl Wirtanen at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, California.[3]

Classified by the MPC and JPL's SBDB as Mars-crosser, it is also listed as a stony Phocaea asteroid of the inner main-belt by the LCDB. orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.6–3.2 AU once every 3 years and 8 months (1,342 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.34 and an inclination of 24° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] Wirt's observation arc begins two weeks after its official discovery with the first recorded observation at Lick Observatory on 22 November 1950.[3]

Between 2005 and 2010, several rotational light-curve were obtained for this asteroid from photometric observations taken by astronomers Donald P. Pray, Petr Pravec, Peter Kušnirák, Walter R. Cooney Jr., Rui Goncalves and Raoul Behrend, as well as at the Palomar Transient Factory. The light-curves gave a well-defined rotation period between 3.689 and 3.690 hours with a brightness variation between 0.12 and 0.26 magnitude (U=n.a./3/3/3/3/2).[5][6][8][9][10] During the photometric observations in December 2005, a 1.89-kilometer sized satellite orbiting Wirt was discovered. The binary asteroid has diameter ratio of 0.25, and the moon's orbital period is 18.97 hours.[5][6][9]

According to the survey carried out by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite IRAS, the asteroid measures 6.66 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.19,[7] while the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes an albedo of 0.23 and calculates a diameter of 6.65 kilometers, based on an absolute magnitude of 13.1.[4]

It was named after American astronomer Carl Wirtanen (1910–1990), a discoverer of minor planets and comets, who was a long-time contributor of astrometric observations at Lick Observatory. He is well known for several surveys conducted at Lick Observatory such as the Lick proper motion program with respect to galaxies and the Shane-Wirtanen survey.[2] Naming citation was published on 1 January 1981 (M.P.C. 5688).[11]2044 Wirt is one of the rare cases where the asteroid had been named after its discoverer.


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 2044 Wirt (1950 VE)" (2016-11-10 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (2044) Wirt. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 166. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "2044 Wirt (1950 VE)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (2044) Wirt". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Pravec, P.; Scheirich, P.; Vokrouhlický, D.; Harris, A. W.; Kusnirák, P.; Hornoch, K.; et al. (March 2012). "Binary asteroid population. 2. Anisotropic distribution of orbit poles of small, inner main-belt binaries". Icarus. 218 (1): 125–143. Bibcode:2012Icar..218..125P. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2011.11.026. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Electronic Telegram No. 353". IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d Tedesco, E. F.; Noah, P. V.; Noah, M.; Price, S. D. (October 2004). "IRAS Minor Planet Survey V6.0". NASA Planetary Data System. Bibcode:2004PDSS...12.....T. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Waszczak, Adam; Chang, Chan-Kao; Ofek, Eran O.; Laher, Russ; Masci, Frank; Levitan, David; 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:1504.04041Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015AJ....150...75W. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/75. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c Pray, D.; Pravec, P.; Kusnirak, P.; Cooney, W.; Gross, J.; Terrell, D.; et al. (January 2006). "(2044) Wirt". Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams (353). Bibcode:2006CBET..353....1P. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (2044) Wirt". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 

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