6229 Tursachan

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6229 Tursachan
Discovery [1]
Discovered by B. A. Skiff
Discovery site Anderson Mesa Stn.
Discovery date 4 November 1983
MPC designation (6229) Tursachan
Named after
"Standing Stones" [1]
(Gaelic language)
1983 VN7 · 1988 RC2
main-belt[1][2] · (outer)
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 23 March 2018 (JD 2458200.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 34.40 yr (12,565 d)
Aphelion 3.6472 AU
Perihelion 2.5155 AU
3.0814 AU
Eccentricity 0.1836
5.41 yr (1,976 d)
0° 10m 55.92s / day
Inclination 1.6495°
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
8.61 km (calculated)[4]
10.34±2.69 km[5]
11.18±3.50 km[6]
11.603±0.070 km[7][8]
16.596±0.0167 h[9]
0.08 (assumed)[4]
C (assumed)[4]
13.236±0.003 (R)[9]

6229 Tursachan, provisional designation 1983 VN7, is a Themistian asteroid from the outer regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) in diameter. It was discovered on 4 November 1983, by American astronomer Brian Skiff at Lowell's Anderson Mesa Station near Flagstaff, Arizona, in the United States.[1] The presumed C-type asteroid has a rotation period of 16.6 hours and is possibly elongated.[4] It was named after a Gaelic word meaning "Standing Stones".[1]

Orbit and classification[edit]

Tursachan is a Themistian asteroid that belongs to the Themis family (602),[3] a very large family of carbonaceous asteroids, named after 24 Themis.[4][11]:23

It orbits the Sun in the outer main-belt at a distance of 2.5–3.6 AU once every 5 years and 5 months (1,976 days; semi-major axis of 3.08 AU). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.18 and an inclination of 2° with respect to the ecliptic.[2] The body's observation arc begins with a precovery taken at Palomar Observatory just 5 nights prior to its official discovery observation at Anderson Mesa.[1]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Tursachan is an assumed C-type asteroid,[4] which agrees with the overall spectral type for members of the Themis family.[11]:23

Rotation period[edit]

In September 2010, a rotational lightcurve of Tursachan was obtained from photometric observations in the R-band by astronomers at the Palomar Transient Factory in California. Lightcurve analysis gave a rotation period of 16.596 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.57 magnitude, indicative of an elongated shape (U=2).[4][9]

Diameter and albedo[edit]

According to the survey carried out by the NEOWISE mission of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Tursachan measures between 10.34 and 11.603 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo between 0.07 and 0.089.[5][6][7][8]

The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes an albedo of 0.08 and calculates a diameter of 8.61 kilometers based on an absolute magnitude of 13.69.[4]


This minor planet was named after the term "Tursachan", which means "Standing Stones" in the Gaelic language, and refers to the stones often placed in circles during the Neolithic (approximately 10,000 BC to 2000 BC) on the British Isles. These stones may have been used to follow the seasons and mark astronomical events.[1] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 11 February 1998 (M.P.C. 31296).[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "6229 Tursachan (1983 VN7)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 6229 Tursachan (1983 VN7)" (2018-03-25 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Small Bodies Data Ferret". Nesvorny HCM Asteroid Families V3.0. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "LCDB Data for (6229) Tursachan". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d Nugent, C. R.; Mainzer, A.; Bauer, J.; Cutri, R. M.; Kramer, E. A.; Grav, T.; et al. (September 2016). "NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year Two: Asteroid Diameters and Albedos" (PDF). The Astronomical Journal. 152 (3): 12. arXiv:1606.08923Freely accessible. Bibcode:2016AJ....152...63N. doi:10.3847/0004-6256/152/3/63. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; Nugent, C.; et al. (November 2012). "Preliminary Analysis of WISE/NEOWISE 3-Band Cryogenic and Post-cryogenic Observations of Main Belt Asteroids" (PDF). The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 759 (1): 5. arXiv:1209.5794Freely accessible. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  7. ^ 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 21 April 2018. 
  8. ^ 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 21 April 2018. 
  9. ^ 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" (PDF). The Astronomical Journal. 150 (3): 35. arXiv:1504.04041Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015AJ....150...75W. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/75. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  10. ^ 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" (PDF). Icarus. 261: 34–47. arXiv:1506.00762Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Nesvorný, D.; Broz, M.; Carruba, V. (December 2014). "Identification and Dynamical Properties of Asteroid Families" (PDF). Asteroids IV: 297–321. arXiv:1502.01628Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015aste.book..297N. doi:10.2458/azu_uapress_9780816532131-ch016. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  12. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 

External links[edit]