February 06 – Asteroid 212 Medea

Asteroid 212 Medea was discovered from Pula (or Pola) in Croatia by Johann Palisa on February 6th 1880.  It’s another big main-belter, about 144 km (90 miles) across, with, in the absence of much else to say about it, the following orbital characteristics:

Epoch 30 January 2005
Aphelion 3.464 AU
Perihelion 2.762 AU
Semi-Major Axis 3.113 AU
Eccentricity 0.113
Orbital Period 5.49 years
Average Orbital Speed 16.88 km/s
Inclination 4.265°
Longitude of Ascending Node 313.697°
Argument of Perihelion 99.624°
Mean Anomaly 356.798°

Medea is our second Greek tragedy in two days.  This one is by Euripides (c. 484 to 406 BC), the most modern of the “big three” Athenian dramatists.  He was about fifty when he wrote it, and it was perhaps a little too much for his audience, who placed it last in the City Dionysia of 431 BC, behind Sophocles in second, and Euphorion (son of the more famous Aeschylus) who won.

Jason & Medea (Carle van Loo, 1705-65)

Jason & Medea (Carle van Loo, 1705-65)

Medea was the wife of Jason (of “and the Argonauts” fame).  She obviously had a sharp temper, shown most vividly by her killing her own children to spite Jason after he’d copped off with the daughter of the King of Corinth.


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