August 22 – 19 Fortuna

Asteroid 19 Fortuna, discovered today in 1852, is a large, dark, main-belt asteroid.  In fact, it is one of the darkest large asteroids known.  It was discovered by John Russell Hind, an English astronomer who was working at the private observatory of George Bishop, having previously been  at Greenwich.  Hind will hopefully be given the full treatment on his birthday (May 12) but for now I’ll just mention that his wife had the wonderfully Bond girl-esque name of Fanny Fuller.

Fortuna, Constanta Museum.  (Image credit: Cristian Chirita).

Fortuna, Constanta Museum. (Image credit: Cristian Chirita).

Fortuna, of course, was the Roman goddess of luck.  Being a goddess of fate as well though, the luck she brought couldn’t be relied upon to be of the good variety (an amulet mentioning her was found at Pompeii, for example).

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ALSO TODAY . . . . 

1868  –  Discovery of asteroid 102 Miriam by C H F Peters.  Miriam is named after the sister of Moses.  Back in the 1880s asteroids were named after mythological figures, so the choice caused a stir at the time, the inference being that she may not have been a real person.

1882  –  Discovery of C-type main belt asteroid 229 Adelinda by Johann Palisa.

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