253 Mathilde

From Academic Kids

253 Mathilde
Discovery A (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/lists/NumberedMPs.html)
Discoverer Johann Palisa
Discovery date November 12, 1885
A915 TN; 1949 OL1 B (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/MPDes.html)
Category Main belt
Orbital elements C (http://asteroid.lowell.edu/)
Epoch January 30, 2005 (JD 2453400.5)
Eccentricity (e) 0.266
Semi-major axis (a) 395.932 Gm (2.647 AU)
Perihelion (q) 290.685 Gm (1.943 AU)
Aphelion (Q) 501.179 Gm (3.350 AU)
Orbital period (P) 1572.683 d (4.31 a)
Mean orbital speed 17.98 km/s
Inclination (i) 6.738
Longitude of the
ascending node
Argument of
Mean anomaly (M) 288.854
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 66×48×46 km
Mass 1.033×1017 kg
Density 1.3 g/cm
Surface gravity 0.0096 m/s
Escape velocity 0.0225 km/s
Rotation period 17 d 9 h 30 min
Spectral class C
Absolute magnitude 10.2
Albedo 0.04
Mean surface
~174 K

253 Mathilde is a Main belt asteroid that was visited by the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft on its way to asteroid 433 Eros. It is a primitive C-type asteroid, the first such asteroid to be visited by a spacecraft. It is also currently the largest asteroid to be visited by a spacecraft.

NASA image of 253 Mathilde
NASA image of 253 Mathilde

Mathilde is very dark, blacker than coal, and is thought to share the same composition as carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. The density measured by NEAR Shoemaker, 1,300 kg/m³ was less than half that of a typical carbonaceous chondrite; this may indicate that the asteroid is very loosely packed rubble pile. The same is true of another C-type asteroid recently studied through ground-based telescopes, 45 Eugenia.

The asteroid is marked by a number of extremely large, extremely clear craters; several are wider than the asteroid's average radius. No differences in brightness or colour were visible so the asteroid's interior must be very homogenous.

Mathilde's orbit is eccentric, taking it to the outer reaches of the Main belt. It also has one of the slowest rotation periods of the known asteroids. Because of that NEAR Shoemaker was not able to photograph all of the asteroid's surface.

It was discovered by Johann Palisa on November 12, 1885 in Vienna.

Mathilde is believed to be named after the wife of astronomer Moritz Loewy.

See also


... | Previous asteroid | 253 Mathilde | Next asteroid | ...

The minor planets
Vulcanoids | Main belt | Groups and families | Near-Earth objects | Jupiter Trojans
Centaurs | Trans-Neptunians | Damocloids | Comets | Kuiper belt | Oort cloud
(For other objects and regions, see: Binary asteroids, Asteroid moons and the Solar system)
(For a complete listing, see: List of asteroids. For pronunciation, see: Pronunciation of asteroid names.)
de:Mathilde (Asteroid)

fr:253 Mathilde nn:253 Mathilde pl:Matylda (planetoida)


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