November 08 – Asteroid 27 Euterpe

The bright 27 Euterpe is a large main belt asteroid, discovered by John Russell Hind on November 8th 1853.  At opposition Euterpe can get to magnitude 8.3, making it one of the brightest asteroids.

Euterpe was Hind’s penultimate asteroid.  He had discovered four the year before, so probably thought he was headed for the record books.  But they dried up pretty quickly, with just this one in 1853, and one last find in 1854 (30 Urania).  Hind has a crater on the Moon named in his honour, lying next to the crater Halley, the namesake of which is celebrating (quietly, I assume) his 361st birthday today.

Euterpe was named after the muse of music,  the name deriving from the Greek meaning something approximating to “delight” or “rejoicing”.

Euterpe (Godefroid Guffens)
Euterpe (Godefroid Guffens)

Today’s space-filler is by the Belgian artist Godefroid Guffens, a pupil of Nicaise de Keyser, born in Hasselt, but working mostly in Antwerp.

1656  –  Birth of Edmund Halley.

1875  –  Discovery of asteroid 155 Scylla.

1956  –  Comet Arend-Roland discovered.

1958  –  Launch of Pioneer 2 in the direction of the Moon. An altitude of almost 1,000 miles was achieved, but unfortunately the Moon is another 237,000 miles further up. Actually, that flippant remark is only partly true. The average distance to the Moon is about 238,000 miles, but the actual distance varies from 225,000 miles at perigee (closest approach to Earth) to 252,000 miles at apogee (furthest distance from Earth).