February 02 – Discovery of asteroid 181 Eucharis (1878)

Here’s a name you won’t see very often in these pages: Pablo Cottenot.  On February 2nd 1878 this French astronomer made his one and only asteroid discovery from the observatory at Marseilles.  The asteroid was 181 Eucharis, a large S-type of 106 km diameter, with a slower than average rotation period of just over 52 hours.  It’s proving difficult to find much out about Cottenot, but some sources cite the fact that he was dumb as having a limiting effect on his astronomical career.

"The Farewell of Telemachus & Eucharis" by David (J Paul Getty Museum)
“The Farewell of Telemachus & Eucharis” by David (J Paul Getty Museum)

Eucharis, despite having all the hallmarks of a Greek mythological character (see the painting above) doesn’t actually appear in the classics.  She is a character in  in François Fénelon’s 1699 novel Les Aventures de Télémaque.


1910   ⇒   Discovery of asteroid 330 Adalberta, by Max Wolf.