4897 Tomhamilton

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4897 Tomhamilton
Discovery [1]
Discovered by E. F. Helin
Discovery site Palomar Obs.
Discovery date 22 August 1987
MPC designation 4897 Tomhamilton
Named after
Thomas William Hamilton
(of the Apollo program)[2]
1987 QD6 · 1971 QV1
1971 SB1 · 1990 BN1
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 13 January 2016 (JD 2457400.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 65.34 yr (23,867 days)
Aphelion 3.4345 AU
Perihelion 2.6738 AU
3.0541 AU
Eccentricity 0.1245
5.34 yr (1,950 days)
Inclination 11.067°
Physical characteristics

4897 Tomhamilton (provisional designation: 1987 QD6) is a Main Belt minor planet. It was discovered by Eleanor F. Helin at the Palomar Observatory on August 22, 1987. Research shows that it was previously recorded on photographs taken as early as 1950, and was even logged as 1971 QV1. It is named after Thomas Wm. Hamilton, an American (born San Francisco, 1939) who was a child actor (he played Barnaby in Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley and was on the early television show Mr. I-Magination). As an adult he worked on the Apollo program, determining fuel requirements and radar accuracy requirements for lunar orbit rendezvous. He later worked as an astronomy educator and planetarium director, and is the author of a time travel adventure novel, Time for Patriots (ISBN 978-1-60693-224-7), an anthology of fantasy, science fiction and satire The Mountain of Long Eyes (ISBN 978-1-62212-028-4), and five books on astronomical topics: Useful Star Names (ISBN 978-1-61204-614-3), Our Neighbor Stars (ISBN 978-1-61897-132-6), Moons of the Solar System (ISBN 978-1-62516-175-8), Dwarf Planets and Asteroids (ISBN 978-1-62857-728-0), and Impact Craters of Earth (ISBN 978-1-63135-353-6). Hamilton and Helin were acquainted, as he had interviewed her at an astronomical conference for a cable television show he was producing at the time.

Orbital details[edit]

This asteroid was at opposition on January 11, 2011 (coinciding with Hamilton's 72nd birthday) at a distance of 2.476 astronomical units. Given the moderately elliptical orbit, this asteroid can on rare occasions reach an apparent magnitude from Earth of about +10.9. Size, shape, density, and rotational period are not yet known. A diameter of 30 to 35 miles (roughly 50 kilometers) is reasonable based on magnitude and a likely albedo.


  1. ^ a b c "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 4897 Tomhamilton (1987 QD6)" (2015-12-18 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved February 2016. 
  2. ^ "4897 Tomhamilton (1987 QD6)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved February 2016. 

External links[edit]