3936 Elst

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3936 Elst
Discovery [1]
Discovered by C. J. van Houten
I. van Houten-G.
T. Gehrels
Discovery site Palomar Obs.
Discovery date 16 October 1977
MPC designation (3936) Elst
Named after
Eric W. Elst (astronomer)[2]
2321 T-3 · 1972 GY
1973 TC · 1976 JG1
1980 MB · 1981 WA2
1984 MT · 1985 WS
main-belt · Vestian[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 16 February 2017 (JD 2457800.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 44.74 yr (16,343 days)
Aphelion 2.7418 AU
Perihelion 2.1129 AU
2.4274 AU
Eccentricity 0.1296
3.78 yr (1,381 days)
0° 15m 38.16s / day
Inclination 5.6454°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 4.593±0.073 km[4]
4.939±0.048 km[5]
7.46 km (calculated)[3]
6.6322±0.0002 h[a]
0.20 (assumed)[3]
13.0[1][3][5] · 13.36±0.24[6]

3936 Elst, provisional designation 2321 T-3, is a stony Vestian asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 16 October 1977, by Dutch astronomer couple Ingrid and Cornelis van Houten at Leiden, on photographic plates taken by Dutch–American astronomer Tom Gehrels at Palomar Observatory in California, United States.[7] It was named after astronomer Eric W. Elst.[2]


Elst is a stony S-type asteroid and member of the Vesta family. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.1–2.7 AU once every 3 years and 9 months (1,381 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.13 and an inclination of 6° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] It was first identified as 1972 GY and 1973 TC at Crimea–Nauchnij, extending the body's observation arc by 4 years prior to its official discovery observation at Palomar.[7]

In August 2007, a rotational lightcurve of Elst was obtained from photometric observations by Czech astronomer Petr Pravec at Ondřejov Observatory. Lightcurve analysis gave a well-defined rotation period of 6.6322 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.13 magnitude (U=3).[a]

According to the survey carried out by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, Elst measures 4.593 and 4.939 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.4607 and 0.509, respectively,[5][4] while the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes a standard albedo for stony asteroids of 0.20 and consequently calculates a larger diameter of 7.46 kilometers based on an absolute magnitude of 13.0.[3]

The survey designation T-3 stands for the third Palomar–Leiden Trojan survey, named after the fruitful collaboration of the Palomar and Leiden Observatory conducted in 1977. 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.[8]

This minor planet was named in honor of Belgian astronomer Eric Walter Elst, one of the world's top discoverer of minor planets at Uccle Observatory in Belgium.[2] Naming citation was published on 28 April 1991 (M.P.C. 18138).[9]


  1. ^ a b Pravec (2007) web: rotation period 6.6322±0.0002 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.13 magnitude and a Quality Code of 3 (see lightcurve plot). Summary figures at Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link (CALL) for (3936) Elst and Ondřejov Asteroid Photometry Project wesite
  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 3936 Elst (2321 T-3)" (2017-01-09 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (3936) Elst. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 335. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (3936) Elst". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; Dailey, J.; et al. (November 2011). "Main Belt Asteroids with WISE/NEOWISE. I. Preliminary Albedos and Diameters". The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 20. arXiv:1109.4096Freely accessible. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...68M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/68. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d Mainzer, A.; Grav, T.; Masiero, J.; Hand, E.; Bauer, J.; Tholen, D.; et al. (November 2011). "NEOWISE Studies of Spectrophotometrically Classified Asteroids: Preliminary Results" (PDF). The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 25. arXiv:1109.6407Freely accessible. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...90M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/90. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  6. ^ Veres, Peter; Jedicke, Robert; Fitzsimmons, Alan; Denneau, Larry; Granvik, Mikael; Bolin, Bryce; et al. (November 2015). "Absolute magnitudes and slope parameters for 250,000 asteroids observed by Pan-STARRS PS1 - Preliminary results". Icarus. 261: 34–47. arXiv:1506.00762Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "3936 Elst (2321 T-3)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers". Minor Planet Center. 24 April 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 

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