5254 Ulysses

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5254 Ulysses
Discovery [1]
Discovered by E. W. Elst
Discovery site Haute-Provence Obs.
Discovery date 7 November 1986
MPC designation (5254) Ulysses
Pronunciation /jˈlɪsz/ ew-LIS-eez
Named after
(latinized name of Odysseus)[2]
1986 VG1 · 1990 FN
Jupiter trojan[3]
(Greek camp)[4]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 30.57 yr (11,166 days)
Aphelion 5.8675 AU
Perihelion 4.6074 AU
5.2375 AU
Eccentricity 0.1203
11.99 yr (4,378 days)
0° 4m 55.92s / day
Inclination 24.194°
Jupiter MOID 0.4495 AU
Jupiter Tisserand parameter 2.8100
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 76.147±0.396[5][6]
78.02 km (derived)[7]
78.34±4.4 km (IRAS:12)
80.00±2.59 km[8]
82 km[9]
28.72±0.08 h[9]
28.7840±0.0376 h[10]
0.0665 (derived)[7]
0.0869±0.011 (IRAS:12)
9.07±1.00[11] · 9.1[1][6][7] · 9.164±0.002 (R)[10] · 9.20[8][9]

5254 Ulysses (/jˈlɪsz/ ew-LIS-eez; from Greek: Ὀδυσσεύς), provisional designation 1986 VG1, is a carbonaceous Jupiter trojan from the Greek camp, approximately 78 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 7 November 1986, by Belgian astronomer Eric Elst at the Haute-Provence Observatory in Saint-Michel-l'Observatoire near Marseille, southeastern France.[3] It was later named after "Ulysses", the Latinized name for Odysseus.[2]

Orbit and classification[edit]

Ulysses is a C-type Jovian asteroid orbiting in the leading Greek camp at Jupiter's L4 Lagrangian point, 60° ahead of the Gas Giant's orbit (see Trojans in astronomy). It orbits the Sun at a distance of 4.6–5.9 AU once every 11 years and 12 months (4,378 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.12 and an inclination of 24° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] The asteroid's observation arc starts in 1986, as no precoveries were taken, and no identifications were made prior to its discovery.[3]

Physical characteristics[edit]


In September 1994, photometric observations of Ulysses were made by astronomers Stefano Mottola and Uri Carsenty at ESO's La Silla Observatory, Chile, using the Bochum 0.61-metre Telescope. The observations were used to build a lightcurve showing a well-defined rotation period of 28.72 hours with a brightness variation of 0.32 magnitude (U=3).[9] In March 2014, another rotational lightcurve was obtained by astronomers at the Palomar Transient Factory, California, which gave a concurring period of 28.7840 hours with an amplitude of 0.33 magnitude (U=2).[10]

Diameter and albedo[edit]

According to the surveys carried out by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the Japanese Akari satellite, and the NEOWISE mission of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Ulysses measures between 76.2 and 80.0 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo between 0.058 and 0.087.[1][5][6][8] The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link derives an albedo of 0.0665 and a diameter of 78.0 kilometers with an absolute magnitude of 9.1.[7]


This minor planet is named after Ulysses, the Latinized name of Odysseus, who is the hero in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the two major ancient Greek epic poems. In the Trojan War, he killed the Trojan Diomedes, restored the command of King Agamemnon and rallied the tired Greeks. Odysseus also thought of building the great wooden Trojan Horse.

After the war, he went on a nine-year long adventurous journey and met the young and pretty Nausicaa, as narrated in the Odyssey. The famous novel Ulysses by Irish poet James Joyce is also titled after Odysseus' Latinized name. For reference, also see the minor planets 1143 Odysseus, 5700 Homerus, 911 Agamemnon, 1437 Diomedes, 192 Nausikaa and 5418 Joyce.[2] The approved naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 10 November 1992 (M.P.C. 21134).[12]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In Ace Combat Infinity, the asteroid is known as Ulysses 1986VG1 and it's portrayed as Jupiter's moon rather than a Trojan. Its collision with another, previously undiscovered asteroid named Polyphemus has resulted in a swarm of meteoroids that have caused a catastrophic impact event on the Earth.


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 5254 Ulysses (1986 VG1)" (2017-06-03 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (5254) Ulysses. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 451. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "5254 Ulysses (1986 VG1)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "List of Jupiter Trojans". Minor Planet Center. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Grav, T.; Mainzer, A. K.; Bauer, J. M.; Masiero, J. R.; Nugent, C. R. (November 2012). "WISE/NEOWISE Observations of the Jovian Trojan Population: Taxonomy". The Astrophysical Journal. 759 (1): 10. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759...49G. arXiv:1209.1549Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/49. Retrieved 5 December 2016. 
  6. ^ 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". The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 25. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...90M. arXiv:1109.6407Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/90. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "LCDB Data for (5254) Ulysses". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Usui, Fumihiko; Kuroda, Daisuke; Müller, Thomas G.; Hasegawa, Sunao; Ishiguro, Masateru; Ootsubo, Takafumi; et al. (October 2011). "Asteroid Catalog Using Akari: AKARI/IRC Mid-Infrared Asteroid Survey". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. 63 (5): 1117–1138. Bibcode:2011PASJ...63.1117U. doi:10.1093/pasj/63.5.1117. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c d Mottola, Stefano; Di Martino, Mario; Erikson, Anders; Gonano-Beurer, Maria; Carbognani, Albino; Carsenty, Uri; et al. (May 2011). "Rotational Properties of Jupiter Trojans. I. Light Curves of 80 Objects". The Astronomical Journal. 141 (5): 32. Bibcode:2011AJ....141..170M. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/141/5/170. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Waszczak, Adam; Chang, Chan-Kao; Ofek, Eran O.; Laher, Russ; Masci, Frank; Levitan, David; et al. (September 2015). "Asteroid Light Curves from the Palomar Transient Factory Survey: Rotation Periods and Phase Functions from Sparse Photometry". The Astronomical Journal. 150 (3): 35. Bibcode:2015AJ....150...75W. arXiv:1504.04041Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/75. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  11. ^ 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. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. arXiv:1506.00762Freely accessible. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 1 May 2016. 

External links[edit]