August 07 – Penelope and Gallia

Today in 1875, asteroid 148 Gallia was discovered by Mathieu-Prosper Henry, half of the French asteroid finding Henry brothers.  Between them , Prosper and his brother (Paul) found 14 asteroids, taking credit alternately all the way down the list (so there’s a 50% chance that this was discovered by Paul). Gallia was disappointingly named after France, about which there’s not a lot I can tell you that you don’t already know or suspect.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Four years later, in 1879, asteroid 201 Penelope was discovered by our old friend Johann Palisa.  Penelope is a main-belt M-type asteroid of about 88 km diameter, possibly a remnant from the core of a larger body.

Penelope, as you know, was the wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus.  She famously spent the duration of the Trojan War, and her husband’s rather circuitous return journey, avoiding the attentions of 108 suitors.

Odysseus and Penelope (Tischbein, 1802)

Odysseus and Penelope (Tischbein, 1802)

The accompanying neo-classical artwork is by the German artist Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein (1751 – 1828).  I believe it may show Odysseus attempting prove to Penelope that he is her husband (because she didn’t recognise him after nearly twenty years away from home), and shortly after he had killed all of her suitors with his bow.  The person slinking away to the right might well be Euryclia, Penelope’s servant, the first person to recognise Odysseus on his return.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ALSO TODAY . . . .

1971  –  Apollo 15 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean after its 12 day mission.

2006  –  Discovery of comet C/2006 P1 McNaught by Robert H McNaught from Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales.  And here it is . . .

Comet C/2006 P1 McNaught

Comet C/2006 P1 McNaught

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s