47 Aglaja (the “aja” is pronounced like the “iar” in “friar”) is a C-type main belt asteroid, about 140 km (80 miles) wide, following a fairly average path around the Sun at a fairly average speed of about 17.5 km/s. It was discovered on September 15th 1857 by one of our regular contributors, Robert Luther, and was named after one of the Charites of Greek mythology (who have become more famous under their Roman name of the Graces). Aglaia (or Aglaea) was responsible for splendour. We have already encountered another of the trio, Euphrosyne, (“mirth”) on September 1st, but we won’t be coming across the third, Thalia (“good cheer”), because she shares her name with the more popular Muse of Comedy, who we will probably meet on December 15th.
Today’s accompanying artwork is by the German artist and former student of Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung (c. 1484 to 1545). In this painting I have no idea which Grace is which. There is probably a clue in the book being read by the grace on the left, and the lute-like instrument carried by the one on the right, but their identification eludes me.