171 Ophelia

Ophelia (minor planet designation: 171 Ophelia) is a large, dark Themistian asteroid that was discovered by French astronomer Alphonse Borrelly on 13 January 1877, and named after Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet.[4]

171 Ophelia
Discovered byA. Borrelly
Discovery date13 January 1877
(171) Ophelia
Main belt (Themis)
AdjectivesOphelian /ɒˈfliən/[2]
Orbital characteristics[3]
Epoch 31 July 2016 (JD 2457600.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc122.15 yr (44615 d)
Aphelion3.5476 AU (530.71 Gm)
Perihelion2.7175 AU (406.53 Gm)
3.1326 AU (468.63 Gm)
5.54 yr (2025.1 d)
0° 10m 39.972s / day
Physical characteristics
Mean radius
58.345±1.8 km
6.66535 h (0.277723 d)

This asteroid is a member of the Themis family of asteroids that share similar orbital elements.[5] It probably has a primitive composition, similar to that of the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.

A 1979 study of the Algol-like light curve produced by this asteroid concluded that it was possible to model the brightness variation by assuming a binary system with a circular orbit, a period of 13.146 hours, and an inclination of 15° to the line of sight from the Earth.[6] Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Leura Observatory in Leura, Australia during 2006 gave a rotation period of 6.6666 ± 0.0002 hours and a brightness variation of 0.50 ± 0.02 in magnitude. This is in agreement with previous studies.[7]

Ophelia is also the name of a moon of Uranus.


  1. ^ Benjamin Smith (1903) The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  2. ^ "Ophelian". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  3. ^ Yeomans, Donald K., "171 Ophelia", JPL Small-Body Database Browser, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, retrieved 6 May 2016.
  4. ^ Schmadel, Lutz (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 30. ISBN 9783540002383. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  5. ^ Moore, Patrick; Rees, Robin, eds. (2011), Patrick Moore's Data Book of Astronomy (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 165, ISBN 9781139495226.
  6. ^ Wijesinghe, M. P.; Tedesco, E. F. (December 1979), "A test of plausibility of eclipsing binary asteroids", Icarus, 40 (3): 383–393, Bibcode:1979Icar...40..383W, doi:10.1016/0019-1035(79)90031-9.
  7. ^ Oey, Julian (December 2006), "Lightcurves analysis of 10 asteroids from Leura Observatory", The Minor Planet Bulletin, 33 (4): 96–99, Bibcode:2006MPBu...33...96O.

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