November 15 – Asteroid 21 Lutetia

Asteroid 21 Lutetia was discovered on November 15th 1852 by Hermann Goldschmidt.  It’s about 100 km (60 miles) in diameter, is irregularly shaped,  fairly dense and heavily cratered.

Lutetia, for the second time in a week, is unusual for a low-numbered asteroid, in that you’re going to get an actual photograph of it, courtesy of the Rosetta probe, which paid it a visit in July 2010 on its way to study  comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Lutetia from the Rosetta probe. (Photo: ESA)

Lutetia from the Rosetta probe. (Photo: ESA)

Today’s rock was named after Lutetia, the pre-Roman and Roman city that stood on what is now the site of Paris. Some of it still remains in the Latin Quarter, including the impressive Arènes de Lutèce, which I came across by accident a few years ago at the back of the Rue Monge.  I forget where I was going (probably looking for a coffee)  but it was quite a surprise to suddenly find myself in a Roman amphitheatre.

Arènes de Lutèce, Paris. (Image credit: me!)

Arènes de Lutèce, Paris. (Image credit: me!)


1630  ⇒  Death of Johannes Kepler in Regensberg, Bavaria, aged 58.


1738  ⇒  Birth of Frederick William Herschel in Hanover, Germany.

by Lemuel Francis Abbott,painting,1785

Herschel, by L F Abbott, 1785

The portrait above is by Lemuel Francis Abbott (1760-1802), mostly known for his famous portrait of Nelson.


1927  ⇒  Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann discovered by A Schwassmann and A A Wachmann at the Hamburg Observatory, Germany.


 

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