3552 Don Quixote

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3552 Don Quixote
Don Quixote (apmag 15) near perihelion in 2009
Discovered by Paul Wild
Discovery date September 26, 1983
Named after
Don Quixote
1983 SA
near-Earth asteroid;[1]
Mars-crosser asteroid;
Amor IV asteroid;
Jupiter-crosser asteroid
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch October 22, 2004 (JD 2453300.5)
Aphelion 7.247 AU (1084.198 Gm
Perihelion 1.216 AU (181.885 Gm)
4.232 AU (633.041 Gm)
Eccentricity 0.713
8.70 a (3179.496 d)
12.41 km/s
Inclination 30.841°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 18.4 km[2]
7.7 h (0.3208 d)[1][3]
Albedo 0.03[2]
Temperature ~138 K
Spectral type
11.67 (1957) to 22.32[4]

3552 Don Quixote is an Amor, Mars-crossing, Jupiter-crossing asteroid. It has a highly inclined comet-like orbit[1] that leads to frequent perturbations by Jupiter,[5] measures 18.4 km in diameter[2] and has a rotation period of 7.7 hours.[1] Don Quixote was discovered by Paul Wild in 1983,[1] and is named after the comic knight who is the eponymous hero of Cervantes' Spanish novel Don Quixote (1605).

Due to its comet-like orbit and albedo, Don Quixote has ever been suspected to be an extinct comet.[6] However, infrared observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope at 4.5 μm revealed a faint coma and tail around the object.[2] The cometary activity is interpreted as CO2 molecular band emission. It is not clear if the observed activity is persistent or an outburst, resulting from the excavation of sub-surface CO2 ice due to a recent impact of a smaller body.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 3552 Don Quixote (1983 SA)" (2008-04-06 last obs). Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d M. Mommert; J. L. Hora; A. W. Harris; W. T. Reach; J. P. Emery et al. (January 2014). "The Discovery of Cometary Activity in Near-Earth Asteroid (3552) Don Quixote". Astrophysical Journal (781): 25. arXiv:1312.0673. Bibcode:2014ApJ...781...25M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/781/1/25. 
  3. ^ a b "European Asteroid Research Node:(3552) Don Quixote". Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  4. ^ Magnitudes generated with JPL Horizons for the year 1950 through 2100
  5. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: 3552 Don Quixote (1983 SA)" (2009-05-02 last obs). Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  6. ^ D.F. Lupishko; M. di Martino & T.A. Lupishko (September 2000). "What the physical properties of near-Earth asteroids tell us about sources of their origin?". Kinematika i Fizika Nebesnykh Tel Supplimen (3): 213–216. Bibcode:2000KFNTS...3..213L. 

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