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History


Asteroid discovered inside orbit of Venus

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JANUARY 26, 1978: The International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) spacecraft is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Throughout its 18 years of operations IUE conducted observations of many astronomical objects, including several comets.  JANUARY 27, 2016: A team of astronomers led by Tabitha Boyajian of Yale University publishes their paper on the star KIC 8462852 – unofficially …

JANUARY 19, 2006: NASA’s New Horizons mission is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. After a somewhat distant flyby of the main-belt asteroid (132524) APL in June 2006 and a gravity-assist encounter with Jupiter in February 2007, New Horizons encountered Pluto and its system of moons in July 2015 – providing our first detailed view of …

JANUARY 12, 1910: A group of diamond miners in the Transvaal in South Africa spot a brilliant comet low in the predawn sky. This was the first sighting of what became known as the “Daylight Comet of 1910” (old style designations 1910a and 1910 I, new style designation C/1910 A1). It soon became one of …

While, strictly speaking, it is not a “near-Earth” asteroid, an important asteroid has been discovered since I first put up this presentation. On January 4, 2020, the Zwicky Transient Facility survey, based at Palomar Observatory in California, discovered an 18th-magnitude object which was formally designated as 2020 AV2 when its discovery was announced on January …

JANUARY 5, 2005: The Kuiper Belt object now known as (136199) Eris is discovered by Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz on images taken in October 2003. Eris travels around the sun in a moderately-inclined and moderately eccentric orbit with a period of 558 years; it has one known moon (Dysnomia) and turns out …

JANUARY 1, 1801: On the first day of the 19th Century, Giuseppe Piazzi at the Palermo Observatory in Sicily discovers the first-known asteroid, now known as (1) Ceres. As a resident of the “main asteroid belt” between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres remains the largest-known asteroid (diameter 950 km), and is now formally designated a “dwarf …