666 Desdemona

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666 Desdemona
Discovery [1]
Discovered by A. Kopff
Discovery site Heidelberg Obs.
Discovery date 23 July 1908
MPC designation (666) Desdemona
Named after
(character in Othello)[2]
1908 DM
main-belt · (middle)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 16 February 2017 (JD 2457800.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 107.90 yr (39,410 days)
Aphelion 3.2102 AU
Perihelion 1.9755 AU
2.5928 AU
Eccentricity 0.2381
4.18 yr (1,525 days)
0° 14m 9.96s / day
Inclination 7.5856°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 27.04±1.0 km (IRAS:17)[3]
27.22 km (derived)[4]
27.37±0.71 km[5]
31.485±0.116 km[6]
32.74±0.37 km[7]
Mean radius
13.52±0.5 km
9.6 h[8][a]
14.607±0.004 h[9]
15.45±0.01 h[10]
0.1055±0.008 (IRAS:17)[3]
0.1372 (derived)[4]
10.6[1][4][6][7] · 10.90[3][5]

666 Desdemona, provisional designation 1908 DM, is a stony asteroid from the middle region of the asteroid belt, approximately 29 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 23 July 1908, by German astronomer August Kopff at Heidelberg Observatory in southern Germany, and named after Desdemona, character in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice.[2][11]

Classification and orbit[edit]

Desdemona is a stony S-type asteroid that orbits the Sun in the middle main-belt at a distance of 2.0–3.2 AU once every 4 years and 2 months (1,525 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.24 and an inclination of 8° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] As no precoveries were taken, the asteroid's observation arc begins with its official discovery observation at Heidelberg.[11]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Rotation period[edit]

In 2013, a rotational lightcurve for this asteroid was obtained from photometric observations made by astronomer Anna Marciniak at Poznań Observatory, Poland. It gave a rotation period of 14.607±0.004 hours with a brightness variation of 0.22 in magnitude (U=2+),[9] superseding a period from in 2000, obtained at the Californian Santana Observatory (646), which gave a slightly longer period of 15.45±0.01 hours and an amplitude of 0.11 (U=2).[10]

Between 2004 and 2006, three more lightcurves were constructed from photometric observations, but they were all fragmentary and based on results with less than full coverage (U=2-/1+/2-).[8][a]

Diameter and albedo[edit]

According to the surveys carried out by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite IRAS, the Japanese Akari satellite, and NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, the asteroid's surface has an albedo between 0.095 and 0.106. While the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link agrees with the space-based IRAS and Akari surveys on a diameter of approximately 27 kilometers, the results from WISE and NEOWISE found a larger diameter of 31.5 to 32.7 kilometers, respectively.[3][4][5][6][7]


This minor planet was named after Desdemona, the wife of Othello in the play The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice written by William Shakespeare in 1604 (also see 2985 Shakespeare). It is presumed that the naming of "Desdemona" could have been inspired by the two letters of its provisional designation (1908 DM). One of the satellites of Uranus (Uranus X), discovered by the Voyager 2 in 1986, is also named Desdemona (H 68).[2]


  1. ^ a b Three different observations by Laurent Bernasconi, Jean Strajnic et al., and René Roy between 2004 and 2006 rendered a rotation period 9.6 hours with a brightness variation of 0.07, 0.16 and 0.09 in magnitude, respectively. All observations are labelled tentative and CALL assigned a Quality-Code between 1+ and -2. Summary figures at Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link (CALL) and Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (666) Desdemona Geneva Observatory, Light-curves


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 666 Desdemona (1908 DM)" (2016-06-16 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (666) Desdemona. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Tedesco, E. F.; Noah, P. V.; Noah, M.; Price, S. D. (October 2004). "IRAS Minor Planet Survey V6.0". NASA Planetary Data System. Bibcode:2004PDSS...12.....T. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "LCDB Data for (666) Desdemona". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  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". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. 63 (5): 1117–1138. Bibcode:2011PASJ...63.1117U. doi:10.1093/pasj/63.5.1117. Retrieved 4 July 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" (PDF). The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 25. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...90M. arXiv:1109.6407Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/90. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  7. ^ 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". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 759 (1): 5. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. arXiv:1209.5794Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (666) Desdemona". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  9. ^ a b Marciniak, A.; Pilcher, F.; Oszkiewicz, D.; Santana-Ros, T.; Urakawa, S.; Fauvaud, S.; et al. (December 2015). "Against the biases in spins and shapes of asteroids". Planetary and Space Science. 118: 256–266. Bibcode:2015P&SS..118..256M. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2015.06.002. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Stephens, R. D. (June 2001). "Rotational Periods and Lightcurves of 1277 Dolores, 666 Desdemona and (7505) 1997 AM2". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 28: 28–29. Bibcode:2001MPBu...28...28S. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "666 Desdemona (1908 DM)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 

External links[edit]