April 03 – 119 Althaea

119 Althaea is a 57km wide main belt asteroid discovered in 1872 by James Craig Watson and named after the mother of Meleager, who killed him by setting alight a particular firebrand that had been kept safely hidden since the fates had prophesied it would one day kill him.

Althaea (illustration by by Johann Wilhelm Baur).
Althaea (illustration by by Johann Wilhelm Baur).

Asteroid 256 Walpurga was discovered by Johann Palisa on April 3rd, 1886.  It is about 63 km across.  Bucking the prevailing trend of naming asteroids after assorted pre-Christian and pagan deities, Walpurga refers to a saint, born in Devon in 710 BC.


1888  –  Asteroid 274 Philagoria discovered.


1905  –  Asteroid 562 Salome discovered.


1926  –  Astronaut Gus Grissom born.