Little Bits of History

Juno Is Found

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 1, 2014
Karl Ludwig Harding

Karl Ludwig Harding

September 1, 1804: Karl Ludwig Harding discovers one of the larger asteroids in the main belt. Juno is given the minor-planet designation 3 Juno and was the third asteroid to be discovered in the region between Mars and Jupiter. The mini planet was named after the Roman goddess. It contains about 1% of the entire mass of the asteroid belt and it is the second most massive S-type asteroid after Eunomia. Even saying that, Juno only has 3% of the mass of Ceres – the largest object in the belt. Ceres was discovered only 3.5 years before Juno.

The irregularly shaped space object is about 199 x 166 x 124 miles. Ceres, on the other hand has a 303 mile radius or is a little over 600 miles across if seen as a full disk. The apparent magnitude or shininess of Juno is 7.4 to 11.55 making it brighter than Ceres (6.64 to 9.34). Juno was originally considered to be a planet as was Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta. As more bodies were discovered in the path between Mars and Jupiter, the “planets” were demoted and reclassified as asteroids. Juno’s small size and irregular shape keep it from being classified as a dwarf planet.

The asteroid belt is called the main belt to keep it from being confused with other asteroids in the Solar System such as near-Earth asteroids and Trojan asteroids. Approximately half the mass of the entire belt in contained in the four largest asteroids: Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea. Of these, only Ceres is large enough to be considered a dwarf planet. The remaining matter is scattered throughout the area and can be as small as dust particles. There are three types of asteroids: C-type which are carbonaceous, S-type which are silicate and M-type which are metal-rich. Gravitational perturbations from massive Jupiter kept the matter in this orbital range from coalescing into another true planet. As much as 99.9% of the asteroid belt’s original mass was lost in the first 100 million years of the Solar System’s existence.

Karl Harding was a German astronomer born in 1765. He was educated at the University of Gottingen and studied theology, mathematics, and physics while there. In 1796, Johann Hieronymus Schroter hired Harding to tutor his son. Schroter was an avid astronomer and Harding was soon appointed to Schorter’s observatory. It was there Harding found Juno in the night sky. After this great discovery, Harding went to assist Carl Friedrich Gauss at Gottingen. Harding went on to discover three more comets and published works on astronomy. A crater on the moon is named for him as well as an asteroid – 2003 Harding.

If the Earth gets hit by an asteroid, it’s game over. It’s control-alt-delete for civilization. – Bill Nye

It would take an extremely large spacecraft to deflect a large asteroid that would be headed directly for the Earth. – Rusty Schweickart

I don’t want to be the embarrassment of the galaxy to have had the power to deflect an asteroid, and then not and end up going extinct. We’d be the laughingstock of the aliens of the cosmos if that were the case. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

I despise the Lottery. There’s less chance of you becoming a millionaire than there is of getting hit on the head by a passing asteroid. – Brian May

Also on this day: Japan’s Great Earthquake – In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake rocks Japan.
Six Million Dollar Man – In 1980, Terry Fox had to end his Marathon of Hope.
Martha, R.I.P. – In 1914, the last passenger pigeon died.
Walls – In 1836, Narcissa Whitman arrived at Walla Walla Fort.

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