37452 Spirit

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37452 Spirit
Discovery [1]
Discovered by C. J. van Houten
I. van Houten-G.
T. Gehrels
(Palomar–Leiden survey)
Discovery site Palomar Obs.
Discovery date 24 September 1960
MPC designation 37452 Spirit
Named after
Spirit (rover)
(Mars Exploration Rover)[2]
4282 P-L · 2000 WD183
2000 WO133
main-belt (outer) · Hildian[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 16 February 2017 (JD 2457800.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 56.13 yr (20,501 days)
Aphelion 4.8226 AU
Perihelion 3.0796 AU
3.9511 AU
Eccentricity 0.2206
7.85 yr (2,869 days)
0° 7m 31.8s / day
Inclination 8.2641°
Jupiter MOID 0.8476 AU
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 8.889±0.756 km[4]

37452 Spirit, provisional designation 4282 P-L, is a Hildian asteroid from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 9 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 24 September 1960, by Dutch astronomers Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld and Cornelis van Houten at Leiden, on photographic plates taken by Tom Gehrels at Palomar Observatory, California.[3]

Spirit orbits the Sun at a distance of 3.1–4.8 AU once every 7 years and 10 months (2,869 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.22 and an inclination of 8° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] It is a member of the Hilda family of asteroids, which stay in a 3:2 orbital resonance with the gas-giant Jupiter, meaning that for every 2 orbits Jupiter completes, Spirit will complete 3 orbits. As Spirit's orbit does not cross the path of any of the planets, it will therefore not be pulled out of orbit by Jupiter's gravitational field and likely remain in a stable orbit for thousands of years. Spirit's observation arc begins with its discovery observation in September 1960, as no precoveries were taken.[3]

According to the survey carried out by the NEOWISE mission of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the asteroid measures 8.9 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.056, which is typical for C-type asteroids.[4]

The survey 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 Ingrid and Cornelis van Houten at Leiden Observatory where astrometry was carried out. The trio are credited with the discovery of several thousand minor planets.[5]

The minor planet was named by the discoverers for NASA's successful Mars rover Spirit which had been exploring the rocks and minerals in the Martian Gusev crater.[2] Naming citation was published on 28 September 2004 (M.P.C. 52770).[6] 39382 Opportunity, also an asteroid of the Hila family and discovered on the same day, was named after Spirit's twin rover, Opportunity.


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 37452 Spirit (4282 P-L)" (2016-11-10 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2006). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (37452) Spirit, Addendum to Fifth Edition: 2003–2005. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 204. ISBN 978-3-540-34361-5. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "37452 Spirit (4282 P-L)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Grav, T.; Mainzer, A. K.; Bauer, J.; Masiero, J.; Spahr, T.; McMillan, R. S.; et al. (January 2012). "WISE/NEOWISE Observations of the Hilda Population: Preliminary Results". The Astrophysical Journal. 744 (2): 15. arXiv:1110.0283Freely accessible. Bibcode:2012ApJ...744..197G. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/744/2/197. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers". Minor Planet Center. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 

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