September 03 – Discovery of Asteroid 230 Athamantis (1882)

Asteroid 230 Athamantis, discovered September 3rd 1882, was the only asteroid to be found by the German-Austrian astronomer Leo Anton Karl de Ball. It is an S-type, just over 100km across, and has a rotation period of almost exactly 24 hours.

Roman Fresco showing Phrixos and Helle (Athamantis)
Roman Fresco showing Phrixos and Helle (Athamantis)

In Greek mythology Athamantis is usually known as Helle, and she features in the story of Jason and the Argonauts. To cut a long story short she fell off a flying golden ram into the Hellespont (who hasn’t done that on a Saturday night?) and died. Her twin brother Phrixos survived the flight and presented the ram’s golden fleece to King Aeetes of Colchis, thus starting another long story.


Asteroid 250 Bettina discovered by Johann Palissa, 1885.