April 06 – 25 Phocaea

Two asteroids to start us off today, discovered by the same guy on the same day, two years apart.  I like people who stick to a routine.

1853  –  Asteroid 25 Phocaea was discovered by Jean Chacornac.  Phocaea is the Greek version of the Turkish town Foça, home of the Turkish Navy’s equivalent of the SAS.

1855  –  Asteroid 34 Circe discovered, also by Jean Chacornac.  Circe is a more typical asteroid name than Phocaea, coming as it does from Greek mythology.  Circe is a minor goddess, known for killing her husband and being banished to the island of Aeaea, the land that consonants forgot.

Odysseus chasing Circe. (Image: Marie-Lan Nguyen)

Odysseus chasing Circe. (Image: Marie-Lan Nguyen)

Chacornac discovered six asteroids and a comet, which was enough to eventually get him his own asteroid (1622 Chacornac), and I suspect that his theory of crater formation may have had a bearing on a crater on the Moon being named after him.  It’s just southeast of Posidonius.


1878  –  Asteroid 186 Celuta was discovered jointly by Paul and Prosper Henry (this one is credited to Prosper), and named for a fictional character in works by the French writer Chateaubriand.  It is an S-type asteroid of approximately 50 km in diameter.


1891  –  Main belt asteroid 309 Fraternitas discovered by Johann Palisa.


1965  –  Communications satellite Intelsat 1 (“Early Bird“), built by the Hughes Aircraft Corporation, was launched from Cape Canaveral.