November 01 – Discovery of Asteroid 151 Abundantia (1875)

Asteroid 151 Abundantia was discovered on November 1st 1875 by Johann Palissa, at Pula (Croatia).  It’s a stony main belt asteroid, about 45 km across, with a rotational period of approximately 19.7 hours.

Abundantia and her horn (Rubens)
Abundantia and her horn (Rubens)

The name Abundantia was chosen by Edmund Weiss, and refers to the Roman goddess of abundance and prosperity.  As can be seen from the picture, she was one of several deities to be associated with the cornucopia, said to be one of the horns of the goat Amaltheia (also now an asteroid, and at one time a constellation – Capra, the she-goat) who suckled the infant god Zeus.

1919      Birth of Hermann Bondi, developer of the steady state theory with Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold.  Bondi was born in Austria, but became a British citizen in 1946.  Why he would want to become a citizen of a country that had interred him as an enemy alien during World War II we shall probably never know, but it was a good move, as he went on to become a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB) and master of Churchill College, Cambridge.

1962      Launch of Mars 1 (also known as Sputnik 23) by the USSR. Communication was lost on March 21st 1963, when the probe was just over 66 million miles from Earth.  It is now in orbit around the Sun.