September 14 – Echo and Erato

60 Echo is an S-type asteroid, discovered September 14th 1860, fairly large at about 60 km in diameter, with a day lasting 25 hours and a year equivalent to 3.7 of our own.  It was the third and final asteroid to be found by American astronomer James Ferguson, working out of the US Naval Observatory. He named it Echo when his first choice, Titania, turned out to have already been taken.

Echo and Narcissus

Echo and Narcissus

Echo, a mountain nymph, was punished in a peculiar and inventive way by Hera, who was annoyed at being distracted by Echo’s stories while her husband Zeus was off ravishing other nymphs. The punishment was to make Echo unable to speak except to repeat the words of others. Today’s painting of Echo and Narcissus, is in my local art gallery: the Walker (Liverpool). It is by John W Waterhouse.

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Asteroid 62 Erato is our second Themistian asteroid in a week.  This one, a C-type of about 65 km wide, was the first asteroid to have two credited discoverers.  They were Otto Lesser and Wilhelm Foerster, and the discovery was made on September 14th 1860.  Erato was named after the Greek muse of lyric and love poetry, often portrayed holding a lyre or kithara ( a lyre for professionals).

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