October 13 – Asteroid 140 Siwa

Asteroid 140 Siwa was discovered today in 1874 by Johann Palisa.  It is a fairly typical asteroid, in that it is a P-type, in the main belt, is just over 60 miles across, and orbits the Sun once every 4 years and 6 months at about 18 km/s.  We almost got to know rather more about Siwa than we do about the average asteroid.  The ESA probe Rosetta, originally launched to rendezvous with comet 46P/Wirtanen, was due to make a flying visit en route, but had to be re-routed to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko instead following a launch vehicle failure.


Asteroid 140’s namesake is a departure from the Greek and Roman deities one normally finds cluttering up this blog.  She is the Slavic goddess of fertility, Ziva (or Siva), a big name in regions around what used to be Czechoslovakia until the Christians arrived and ruined her career.

1879   ⇒   Asteroid 205 Martha discovered by Johann Palisa, and 206 Hersilia discovered by C H F Peters.

1887   ⇒   Asteroid 271 Penthesilia became the last of Viktor Knorre’s four discoveries.