The Greek muse of sacred music was chosen to be the namesake of French astronomer Jean Chacornac’s second asteroid, 33 Polyhymnia, discovered on October 28, 1854.
Approximately 62km in diameter at its widest point, and rotating once every eighteen hours, this S-type main belt minor planet has an absolute magnitude of 8.55, and an unusually high eccentricity for such an early discovery, which helps it to reach quite good apparent magnitudes at certain times (10th magnitude is not unknown when Polyhymnia is close to Earth).
The muse Polyhymnia is often depicted as rather a serious figure, in a thoughtful or contemplative pose (holding her finger to her mouth, for example). Now, this is all very well for the muse of sacred hymns, but as she is also responsible for pantomime, I’m not sure I can take her all that seriously.
1971 ⇒ Launch of the Prospero satellite (X-3) by the UK, using a British Black Arrow rocket, making it the first all-British launch (almost – the launch took place from Woomera, South Australia). The UK’s previous satellite was called Ariel, so you’ll probably not need telling which Elizabethan playwright is being nodded toward in the choice of names. Prospero is still up there, and isn’t expected to decay until 2070.
Although no longer a working satellite, Prospero has been contacted every few years, usually on the anniversary of its launch (but less often recently).