November 16 – asteroid 22 Kalliope

M-type main belt asteroid 22 Kalliope was discovered by John Russell Hind on 16th November 1852. It’s a reasonable size  at about 166 km across, is probably composed mostly of metals and silicates, and has a retrograde motion. More interestingly, Kalliope also has a satellite called Linus, discovered by Jean-Luc Margot and Michael E Brown in 2001.

Calliope (detail of a painting by Simon Vouet)

Calliope (detail of a painting by French artist Simon Vouet)

The name Kalliope comes from the Greek muse of epic poetry, Calliope. She was a lover of both Ares, the god of war, and Apollo. To Apollo she bore two sons: Orpheus, a man so musically talented it was said he could charm rocks, and Linus (now you see where I’ve been heading with this) the inventor of melody and rhythm. Both Ovid and Hesiod refer to Calliope as the wisest of all the muses, but as they were both poets this is hardly surprising.


Also today, from 1973, we have the launch of the third (and final) manned Skylab mission, called (confusingly) Skylab 4 (“SL-4“). Being flung upwards, via a Saturn IB launch vehicle, into their first and only spaceflights were commander Gerald P Carr, science pilot Edward G Gibson and pilot William R Pogue. The team spent 83 days docked with the Skylab space station, orbiting the Earth more than 1,000 times.

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