April 02 – 108 Hecuba

Asteroid 108 Hecuba was discovered on April 2nd 1869 by Karl Theodore Robert Luther, and is in the wrong place, living as it does with the Hygiea family of main-belt asteroids, but not being related to them (they are C-types, whereas Hecuba is a stony S-type.

Hecuba

Hecuba is the Latin form of the Greek name Hecabe, the wife of King Priam of Troy, and mother of Hector.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  read the Iliad! 


1964  –  Launch of the Zond 1 spacecraft by the USSR.  A total of ten missions carried the incredibly futuristic and alien-sounding Zond name.  If you’re Russian though, it’s a bit more mundane: it means “probe”.  This was the second Soviet craft to reach Venus.  Unfortunately contact had been lost before the big day.


1998  –  The Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base to observe our nearest star.

TRACE Image of a Sunspot (image credit: Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research / NASA)
TRACE Image of a Sunspot (image credit: Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research / NASA)

TRACE returned a fabulous gallery of images, dozens of which can be viewed here.