September 27 – Discovery of Asteroid 134 Sophrosyne (1873)

Asteroid 134 Sophrosyne was discovered on September 27th 1873 by Robert Luther. Its a dark, C-type, main belt asteroid, with an estimated diameter, derived from occultation observations, of 110 km (68 miles).

Sophrosyne was one of the many spirits to escape from Pandora’s jar. As a goddess she represents a concept almost completely alien today in the westernised world, that of enlightenment and happiness achieved through harmonious living, restraint, patience and self-knowledge (rather than through the acquisiton of 4x4s and HD-TVs).

There are very few representations of today’s goddess floating around, and to be honest I could have shown you a shot of almost any classically dressed woman looking a bit thoughtful and passed her off as Sophrosyne, but I haven’t.

Instead, here is Dutch/British artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s depiction of Pandora, looking like she’s about to do something she might later regret.

ALSO TODAY . . . .
1814 — Birth of American astronomer, Daniel Kirkwood, the man who noticed the gaps in the asteroid belt which now bear his name. I look forward to receiving hits from Evertonians (another Dan Kirkwood was a player and director there).

2003 — Launch of Kaistsat 4 (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology SATellite), aka STSAT-1, with the primary mission of studying galactic hot plasma.

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