5335 Damocles

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5335 Damocles
Discovery
Discoverer Robert H. McNaught
Discovery date February 18, 1991
Alternate
designations
1991 DA
Category Damocloid
Orbital elements
Epoch January 1, 2006 (JD 2453736.5 )
Eccentricity (e) 0.87
Semi-major axis (a) 11.84 AU
Perihelion (q) 1.58 AU
Aphelion (Q) 22.10 AU
Orbital period (P) 14880.90 d, 40.74 a
Mean orbital speed 6.67 km/s
Inclination (i) 61.95 °
Longitude of the
ascending node
(Ω)
.02°
Argument of
perihelion
(ω)
191.25°
Mean anomaly (M) 133.07°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions ~ 10 km
Mass
Density
Surface gravity
Escape velocity
Rotation period 10.2 h
Spectral class S
Absolute magnitude 13.3
Albedo (geometric)
Mean surface
temperature

5335 Damocles is the main asteroid of the Damocloids, asteroids that are inactive comets of the Halley Family and long period comets. It was found in 1991 and named after Damocles, a figure of Greek mythology.

When Damocles was found, in 1991 by Robert H. McNaught, it was found to be on an orbit that was very different from all others known. Damocles' orbit reached from inside the aphelion (farthest approach from the Sun) of Mars to as far as Uranus. It's orbit seemed to be changing from an almost round outer solar system orbit to a stretched orbit taking it to the inner solar system.[1] Duncan Steel, Gerhard Hahn, Mark Bailey, and David Asher found out what's it's future could be, and found a good chance that it will become an Earth-crosser asteroid, and may spend a quarter of its life in such an orbit. Damocles has a stable orbit for tens of thousands of years before and after the present, because its highly tilted orbit does not take it near Jupiter or Saturn.

The adjective for Damocles is Damoclean, /dæməˈkliːən/.[2]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Steel, D. "Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets", page 127-8. Wiley & Sons, 1995
  2. OED

References[change | change source]