2044 Wirt

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2044 Wirt
Discovery [1]
Discovered by C. A. Wirtanen
Discovery site Lick Observatory
Discovery date 8 November 1950
MPC designation 2044 Wirt
Named after
Carl Wirtanen
(discoverer himself)[2]
1950 VE
Mars-crosser · Phocaea[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 27 June 2015 (JD 2457200.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 64.75 yr (23,649 days)
Aphelion 3.1988 AU
Perihelion 1.5629 AU
2.3808 AU
Eccentricity 0.3435
3.67 yr (1,342 days)
Inclination 23.968°
Known satellites 1 [4][5]
(diameter: 2 km)
(orbit: 18.9 hours)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 6.66 km[6]
6.65 km (calculated)[3]
3.6898 h[7]
3.6900±0.0003 h[8]
3.690±0.00005 h[4]
3.6895±0.0003 h[9]
0.23 (assumed)[3]

2044 Wirt, provisional designation 1950 VE, is an eccentric, stony, and binary asteroid classified as a Mars-crosser. It was discovered by American astronomer Carl Wirtanen at Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, California on 8 November 1950.[10]

It measures about 7 kilometers in diameter and is a member of the Phocaea family of asteroids. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.6–3.2 AU once every 3 years and 8 months (1,342 days). Its orbit shows a high eccentricity of 0.34 and is heavily tilted by 24 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic. The S-type minor planet has an albedo of 0.191[6] and a rotation period of 3.69 hours.[7][8]

In 2005, photometric observations of its light-curve confirmed the presence a 2-kilometer sized satellite, which gives the binary asteroid a diameter ratio of 0.25. The moon's orbital period is 18.97 hours.[4][5][7]

It was named after American astronomer Carl A. Wirtanen (1910–1990), known for his discovery of several comets and minor planets and for his long-time contribution to astrometric and several other programs of the Lick Observatory, notably the Shane-Wirtanen survey of galaxies and the proper-motion program with respect to galaxies.[2] 2044 Wirt is one of the rare cases where the asteroid had been named after its discoverer.


  1. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 2044 Wirt (1950 VE)" (2015-08-22 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (2044) Wirt. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 166. ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7. Retrieved November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "LCDB Data for (2044) Wirt". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c 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 November 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Electronic Telegram No. 353". IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  6. ^ a b c 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 November 2015. 
  7. ^ 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. Bibcode:2006CBET..353....1P. Retrieved November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (2044) Wirt". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved November 2015. 
  9. ^ 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:1504.04041. Bibcode:2015AJ....150...75W. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/75. Retrieved November 2015. 
  10. ^ "2044 Wirt (1950 VE)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved November 2015. 

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