July 29th, 1851 – Discovering the Eunomian Asteroids


Between Mars and Jupiter lies the inner belt of asteroids following an orbit around the sun, and one the largest of these is 15 Eunomia. It is a stony (S-type) asteroids, and somewhere between the 8th-to-12th-largest main-belt asteroid overall. It is the largest of the Eunomian asteroids, a family of asteroids named after the Greek goddess Eunomia, and is estimated to contain 1% of the mass of the asteroid belt.

15 Eunomia Asteroid

A three-dimensional model of 15 Eunomia

Eunomia was discovered by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis on July 29th, 1851 and it was he who named the family of asteroids after Eunomia, one of the Horae (Hours), a personification of order and law in Greek mythology.

Annibale de Gasparis

Annibale de Gasparis (November 9th, 1819 –March 21st, 1892)

For his discoveries, Gasparis won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1851, and was awarded the Lalande Prize in 1851 and 1852. Between 1864 to 1889 Gasparis was the director of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte in Naples.

The asteroid 4279 De Gasparis as well as the lunar crater de Gasparis (30 km in diameter) and the Rimae de Gasparis (a 93 km long fracture near the crater) are named in his honor.


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