October 1 – 90 Antiope

Asteroid 90 Antiope was discovered on October 1st 1866 by Robert Luther, and is now known to be a binary system. It orbits in the Themistian family, in the outer third of the main belt, and is a carbonaceous C-type asteroid. The dimensions of that half of the system originally discovered by Luther are about 93 x 87 x 83 km, but those of the companion, S/2000 (90) 1, discovered on August 10th 2000, are very similar (84 x 83 x 79 km) so that they orbit about a common centre of mass almost halfway between them (once every sixteen hours or so).  The name Antiope occurs twice in Greek mythology, and it is not known which one the namer had in mind. Nowadays, of course, they can take one half each.

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There is no such confusion over today’s second asteroid, 175 Andromache, wife of the Trojan hero Hector. The 100 km wide rock bearing her name was spotted on October 1st, 1877, by J C Watson.

Andromache in Captivity (Frederick Leighton)

Andromache in Captivity (Frederick Leighton)

  Also today, in 1916, asteroids 841 Arabella and 842 Kerstin were discovered by Max Wolf.