59 Elpis

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59 Elpis
Discovered by Jean Chacornac
Discovery date September 12, 1860
Named after
Main belt
Orbital characteristics
Epoch December 31, 2006 (JD 2454100.5)
Aphelion 453.624 Gm (3.032 AU)
Perihelion 358.808 Gm (2.398 AU)
406.216 Gm (2.715 AU)
Eccentricity 0.117
1634.355 d (4.47 a)
18.01 km/s
Inclination 8.631°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 164.8 ± 6.0 km[1]
Mass (3.00 ± 0.50) × 1018 kg[2]
Mean density
1.30 ± 0.26[2] g/cm3
0.0461 m/s²
0.0871 km/s
13.69 h[1]
Albedo 0.044[1][3]
Temperature ~169 K
Spectral type

59 Elpis (/ˈɛlps/ EL-pis) is a very large main belt asteroid. It is a C-type asteroid, meaning that it is very dark and carbonaceous in composition.

Elpis was discovered by Jean Chacornac from Paris, on September 12, 1860. It was Chacornac's sixth and final asteroid discovery.

A controversy arose over the naming of Elpis. Urbain Le Verrier, director of the Paris Observatory, at first refused to allow Chacornac to name the object, because Leverrier was promoting a plan to reorganize asteroid nomenclature by naming them after their discoverers, rather than mythological figures. A protest arose among astronomers. At the Vienna Observatory, Edmund Weiss, who had been studying the asteroid, asked the observatory's director, Karl L. Littrow, to name it. Littrow chose Elpis, a Greek personification of hope, in reference to the favorable political conditions in Europe at the time. In 1862, Leverrier permitted Chacornac to choose a name, and he selected "Olympia" at the suggestion of John Russell Hind.[4] However, Elpis is the name that stuck.[5]

Elpis has been studied by radar.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 59 Elpis" (2011-09-01 last obs). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  2. ^ a b Carry, B. (December 2012), "Density of asteroids", Planetary and Space Science, 73, pp. 98–118, arXiv:1203.4336Freely accessible, Bibcode:2012P&SS...73...98C, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2012.03.009.  See Table 1.
  3. ^ Asteroid Data Sets
  4. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 173. 
  5. ^ Lutz D. Schmadel, Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, p.20-1.
  6. ^ "Radar-Detected Asteroids and Comets". NASA/JPL Asteroid Radar Research. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 

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