August 27 – 240 Vanadis

Asteroid 240 Vanadis was discovered by the French astronomer Alphonse Borelly on August 27th 1884. It is a “C” type asteroid in the main belt, about 94km in diameter, with a day lasting just over 10 and a half hours. It has an absolute magnitude of 9.0.

Vanadis is another name for Freyja, a Norse goddess associated with fertility, love and beauty. Like a lot of Norse deities, she’s a bit quirkier than your average Greek or Roman goddess. Her peculiarities include always having a boar at her side, and driving a chariot pulled by cats. It is from Freyja that those of us who use partly or wholly Germanic languages derive the name Friday. Her alternative name, Vanadis , means something along the lines of “spirit of the Vanir” (a group of deities associated with nature and fertility).

Freja, by John Bauer.

Freja, by John Bauer.

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ALSO TODAY . . . .

1962 – launch of the first successful probe to Venus, Mariner 2.

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