Philibert Jacques Melotte

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Asteroids discovered: 1
676 Melitta 16 January 1909

Philibert Jacques Melotte (29 January 1880 – 30 March 1961) was a British astronomer whose parents immigrated from Belgium.[1]

In 1908 he discovered a moon of Jupiter, today known as Pasiphaë. It was simply designated "Jupiter VIII" and was not given its present name until 1975.

The asteroid 676 Melitta, the only one he discovered, is named after him, in a way. Its name is in fact the Attic form of the Greek Melissa, the bee, but its resemblance to the discoverer's name is not fortuitous.

The conspicuous star cluster in the Coma Berenices constellation is commonly designated Mel 111 since it appeared in Melotte's 1915 catalogue[2] of star cluster but not in Charles Messier's famous catalogue of deep sky objects or in the New General Catalogue since it was not proved to be a true cluster until 1938 by the astronomer R J Trumpler.[3]

Melotte was awarded the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1909.


  1. ^ Hunter, A. "Obituary Notices: Philibert Jacques Melotte" (p. 48), (p. 49-50), QJRAS, 1962, vol. 3, p. 48-50 (2 links due to faulty bibliographic entries in ADS)
  2. ^ Melotte, P. J. "A Catalogue of Star Clusters shown on Franklin-Adams Chart Plates", MmRAS, 1915
  3. ^ [1] The Coma Berenices star cluster (Melotte 111)

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