May 05 – 70 Panopaea

Asteroid 70 Panopaea was the last to be discovered by our old friend Hermann Goldschmidt at his Paris Observatory on May 5th 1861.  It is a large, dark C-type main belt asteroid about 75 miles in diameter.

Panopaea was a water nymph. She was one of the 50 daughters of Nereus and Doris known as the Nereids (well, I say 50, but if you start counting them up in Homer and Hesiod you end up with about 90). They are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea.

Finding a picture of Panopaea is proving difficult, so here is her father, Nereus.

Herakles and Nereus
Herakles and Nereus

Today’s photograph shows a detail from a Greek black-figure lekythos (oil storage jar) in the Louvre, Paris, decorated by the so-called Istanbul Painter, although this jar was found in Boeotia, southern Greece.  Herakles (Hercules if you prefer) is shown holding onto Nereus in an attempt to extract from him the location of the Apples of the Hesperides.

1853  –  Asteroid 26 Proserpina discovered by Robert Luther, and named after a Roman goddess associated with fertility and agriculture. Proserpina is about 90 km (56.5) km across (possibly a little more) and is an S-type asteroid. It’s a fairly cold place, in common with the rest of the main belt, with a surface temperature of 166 Kelvin (minus 157° Celsius).

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