3552 Don Quixote

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3552 Don Quixote
Don Quixote (apmag 15) near perihelion
taken in Pingelly, Australia, 2009
Discovery [1]
Discovered by P. Wild
Discovery site Zimmerwald Obs.
Discovery date 26 September 1983
MPC designation 3552 Don Quixote
Named after
Don Quixote[2]
1983 SA
NEA, Amor (IV)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 27 June 2015 (JD 2457200.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 31.51 yr (11,510 days)
Aphelion 7.2397 AU
Perihelion 1.2115 AU
4.2256 AU
Eccentricity 0.7132
8.69 yr (3172.7 days)
12.41 km/s[citation needed]
Inclination 31.122°
Earth MOID 0.3044 AU
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 18.4 km[3]
7.7 h[1][4]
Temperature ~ 138 K[citation needed]
D (Tholen), D (SMASS)
11.67 (1957) to 22.32[a]

3552 Don Quixote, provisionally designated 1983 SA, is a near-Earth asteroid (NEA), also classified as Amor, Mars-crossing, and Jupiter-crossing asteroid. It has a highly inclined comet-like orbit of 31 degrees that leads to frequent perturbations by Jupiter.[5] Don Quixote measures 18.4 kilometres in diameter and has a rotation period of 7.7 hours.[1][3] It was discovered by Paul Wild at the Swiss Zimmerwald Observatory in 1983, and is named after the comic knight who is the eponymous hero of Cervantes' Spanish novel Don Quixote (1605).[1][2]

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.[3] 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. ^ Magnitudes generated with JPL Horizons for the year 1950 through 2100


  1. ^ a b c d e f "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 3552 Don Quixote (1983 SA)" (2015-03-16 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (3552) Don Quixote". Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 2007. p. 298. Retrieved October 2015. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "European Asteroid Research Node:(3552) Don Quixote". Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  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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