66 Maja

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66 Maja
Lightcurve-based 3D-model of Maja
Discovery [1]
Discovered byH. P. Tuttle
Discovery siteHarvard College Obs.
Discovery date9 April 1861
MPC designation(66) Maja
Pronunciation/ˈm.ə/ · or · /ˈm.ə/
MY · or · MAY
Named after
Maia (Greek mythology)[2]
1947 FO · 1974 KR
1992 OX10 · A902 UF
A906 QD
main-belt · (middle)[3]
background [4]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc156.54 yr (57,178 days)
Aphelion3.1021 AU
Perihelion2.1884 AU
2.6453 AU
4.30 yr (1,571 days)
0° 13m 44.76s / day
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
62.87±15.72 km[5]
62.901±19.42 km[6]
71.79±0.92 km[7]
71.82±5.3 km[8]
74.30±21.31 km[9]
82.28±2.11 km[10]
9.733 h[11][12]
9.73509±0.00005 h[13]
9.73570±0.00005 h[14]
9.736±0.009 h[15]
9.74±0.05 h[13]
9.761±0.03 h[16]
Tholen = C[1] · C[3]
SMASS = Ch[1]
B–V = 0.697[1]
U–B = 0.360[1]
V–R = 0.374±0.010[17]
9.18[6] · 9.18±0.35[18] · 9.36[1][3][5][7][8] · 9.44±0.09[17] · 9.48[10] · 9.84[9]

Maja (/ˈm.ə/ MY; also: /ˈm.ə/ MAY; minor planet designation: 66 Maja) is a carbonaceous background asteroid from the central regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 71 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 9 April 1861, by American astronomer Horace Tuttle at the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.[19] The asteroid was named after Maia from Greek mythology.[2]

Orbit and classification[edit]

Maja is a non-family asteroid from the main belt's background population.[4] It orbits the Sun in the central asteroid belt at a distance of 2.2–3.1 AU once every 4 years and 4 months (1,571 days; semi-major axis of 2.65 AU). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.17 and an inclination of 3° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] The body's observation arc begins at the Harvard Observatory, one night after its official discovery observation.[19]

Physical characteristics[edit]

In the Tholen classification, Maja is a carbonaceous C-type asteroid,[1] while in the SMASS classification it is a "hydrated" carbonaceous subtype (Ch).[1]

Rotation period and spin axes[edit]

Several rotational lightcurves of Maja have been obtained from photometric observations since 1988.[11][12][13][15][16] Analysis of the best-rated lightcurve by French amateur astronomers Maurice Audejean and Jérôme Caron from February 2011 gave a rotation period of 9.73509 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.25 magnitude (U=3).[3][13]

In 2016, a modeled lightcurve was derived from various photometric database sources, giving a concurring sidereal period of 9.73570 hours and two spin axes of (49.0°, −70.0°) and (225.0°, −68.0°) in ecliptic coordinates.[14]

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, Maja measures between 62.87 and 82.28 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo between 0.03 and 0.0759.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link adopts the results obtained by IRAS, that is, an albedo of 0.0618 and a diameter of 71.82 kilometers based on an absolute magnitude of 9.36.[3][8]


This minor planet was named by Harvard's former president, J. Quincy, after Maia, one of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades in Greek mythology. She is the mother of Hermes (Mercury) and the daughter of Atlas and Pleione. The official naming citation was mentioned in The Names of the Minor Planets by Paul Herget in 1955 (H 10).[2]

Double naming[edit]

The asteroids 130 Elektra, 233 Asterope and 1051 Merope were also named after the mythological Seven Sisters. In 1861, the director of the discovering observatory, George Phillips Bond, raised a minor concern since these names had already been applied to some of the brightest stars of the Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus: Maia, Electra, Asterope and Merope.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 66 Maja" (2017-10-27 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(66) Maja". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (66) Maja. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 21–22. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_67. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e "LCDB Data for (66) Maja". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Small Bodies Data Ferret". Nesvorny HCM Asteroid Families V3.0. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Nugent, C. R.; Mainzer, A.; Masiero, J.; Bauer, J.; Cutri, R. M.; Grav, T.; et al. (December 2015). "NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year One: Preliminary Asteroid Diameters and Albedos". The Astrophysical Journal. 814 (2): 13. arXiv:1509.02522. Bibcode:2015ApJ...814..117N. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/814/2/117. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Masiero, Joseph R.; Nugent, C.; Mainzer, A. K.; Wright, E. L.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; et al. (October 2017). "NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year Three: Asteroid Diameters and Albedos". The Astronomical Journal. 154 (4): 10. arXiv:1708.09504. Bibcode:2017AJ....154..168M. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/aa89ec.
  7. ^ 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 11 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e Tedesco, E. F.; Noah, P. V.; Noah, M.; Price, S. D. (October 2004). "IRAS Minor Planet Survey V6.0". NASA Planetary Data System: IRAS-A-FPA-3-RDR-IMPS-V6.0. Bibcode:2004PDSS...12.....T. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  9. ^ 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. arXiv:1209.5794. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ 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". The Astronomical Journal. 152 (3): 12. arXiv:1606.08923. Bibcode:2016AJ....152...63N. doi:10.3847/0004-6256/152/3/63. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b di Martino, M.; Ferreri, W.; Fulchignoni, M.; de Angelis, G.; Barucci, M. A. (October 1990). "66 Maja and 951 Gaspra - Possible flyby targets for Cassini and Galileo missions". Icarus. 87 (2): 372–376. Bibcode:1990Icar...87..372D. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(90)90140-5. ISSN 0019-1035. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b Barucci, M. A.; Fulchignoni, M.; di Martino, M. (June 1989). "Observations of Asteroids 66 Maja and 951 Gaspra, Possible Flyby Targets for "Cassini" and "Galileo" Missions". Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. 21: 963. Bibcode:1989BAAS...21..963B. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (66) Maja". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b Hanus, J.; Durech, J.; Oszkiewicz, D. A.; Behrend, R.; Carry, B.; Delbo, M.; et al. (February 2016). "New and updated convex shape models of asteroids based on optical data from a large collaboration network". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 586: 24. arXiv:1510.07422. Bibcode:2016A&A...586A.108H. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201527441.
  15. ^ a b Ditteon, Richard; Hawkins, Scot (September 2007). "Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at the Oakley Observatory - October-November 2006". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 34 (3): 59–64. Bibcode:2007MPBu...34...59D. ISSN 1052-8091. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b Riccioli, D.; Blanco, C.; Cigna, M. (June 2001). "Rotational periods of asteroids II". Planetary and Space Science. 49 (7): 657–671. Bibcode:2001P&SS...49..657R. doi:10.1016/S0032-0633(01)00014-9. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  17. ^ a b Warner, Brian D. (December 2007). "Initial Results of a Dedicated H-G Project". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 34 (4): 113–119. Bibcode:2007MPBu...34..113W. ISSN 1052-8091. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  18. ^ 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. arXiv:1506.00762. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  19. ^ a b "66 Maja". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 11 January 2018.

External links[edit]