6042 Cheshirecat

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6042 Cheshirecat
Discovery [1]
Discovered by A. Natori
T. Urata
Discovery site JCPM Yakiimo Stn.
Discovery date 23 November 1990
MPC designation (6042) Cheshirecat
Pronunciation /ˈɛʃərkæt/  · /ˈɛʃɪərkæt/
Named after
Cheshire Cat
(Alice in Wonderland)[2]
1990 WW2
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 36.84 yr (13,454 days)
Aphelion 4.4295 AU
Perihelion 1.6505 AU
3.0400 AU
Eccentricity 0.4571
5.30 yr (1,936 days)
0° 11m 9.24s / day
Inclination 15.885°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 14.12±0.20 km[5]
14.64 km (calculated)[4]
10.049±0.004 h[6]
10.050±0.002 h[7]
0.057 (assumed)[4]
XL [8] · K[9] · C[4]
12.00[9] · 12.30[5] · 12.77±0.62[8] · 12.9[1][4]

6042 Cheshirecat (/ˈɛʃərkæt/ or /ˈɛʃɪərkæt/), provisional designation 1990 WW2, is an eccentric, rare-type asteroid and large Mars-crosser from the outer regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 14 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered by Japanese astronomers Akira Natori and Takeshi Urata at the JCPM Yakiimo Station on 23 November 1990.[3] It was named for the Cheshire Cat from the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland.[2]

Classification and orbit[edit]

Cheshirecat is a Mars-crossing asteroid, as it crosses the orbit of Mars at 1.666 AU. It orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.65–4.43 AU once every 5 years and 4 months (1,936 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.46 and an inclination of 16° with respect to the ecliptic.[1]

The body's observation arc begins 11 years prior to its official discovery observation, with a precovery taken at the Siding Spring Observatory in August 1979.[3]

Physical characteristics[edit]

According to photometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Cheshirecat is a rare K-type asteroid.[9] The asteroid has also been characterized as a XL-type – which transitions from the X-type to the L-type asteroid – by Pan-STARRS photometric survey.[8]


In December 2006, a rotational lightcurve of Cheshirecat was obtained from photometric observations by American astronomer Robert Stephens. Lightcurve analysis gave a rotation period of 10.050 hours with a brightness variation of 0.40 magnitude (U=3-).[7] In September 2011, another lightcurve, obtained at the Oakley Southern Sky Observatory (E09), Australia, gave a concurring period of 10.050 hours and an amplitude of 0.20 (U=3-)[6]

Diameter and albedo[edit]

According to the survey carried out by the Japanese Akari satellite, Cheshirecat measures 14.12 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.109.[5] The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes a standard albedo for carbonaceous asteroids of 0.057 and calculates a diameter of 14.64 kilometers based on an absolute magnitude of 12.9.[4]


This minor planet was named for the Cheshire Cat, a cat appearing in Lewis Carroll's famous fairy tale Alice in Wonderland. The cat is known for its distinctive mischievous grins and eyes that linger after it has already faded away. The asteroid's name and citation was proposed by co-discoverer Takeshi Urata.[2] The approved naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 2 February 1999 (M.P.C. 33786).[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 6042 Cheshirecat (1990 WW2)" (2016-06-14 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (6042) Cheshirecat. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 505. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "6042 Cheshirecat (1990 WW2)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (6042) Cheshirecat". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  5. ^ 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" (PDF). Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. 63 (5): 1117–1138. Bibcode:2011PASJ...63.1117U. doi:10.1093/pasj/63.5.1117. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Folberth, James; Casimir, Serick; Dou, Yueheng; Evans, Davis; Foulkes, Thomas; Haenftling, Miranda; et al. (April 2012). "Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at the Oakley Southern Sky Observatory: 2011 July-September". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 39 (2): 51–55. Bibcode:2012MPBu...39...51F. ISSN 1052-8091. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Stephens, Robert D. (April 2012). "Asteroids Observed from GMARS and Santana Observatories: 2011 October- December". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 39 (2): 80–82. Bibcode:2012MPBu...39...80S. ISSN 1052-8091. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c 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 29 June 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c Carry, B.; Solano, E.; Eggl, S.; DeMeo, F. E. (April 2016). "Spectral properties of near-Earth and Mars-crossing asteroids using Sloan photometry". Icarus. 268: 340–354. Bibcode:2016Icar..268..340C. arXiv:1601.02087Freely accessible. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.12.047. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  10. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 

External links[edit]