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1940 Whipple, provisional designation 1975 CA, is a carbonaceous asteroid from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 35 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 2 February 1975, by the Harvard College Observatory at its George R. Agassiz Station near Harvard, Massachusetts, in the United States, and named after astronomer Fred Whipple.[12]

1940 Whipple
Discovery [1]
Discovered byHarvard College Obs.
Discovery siteAgassiz Stn.
Discovery date2 February 1975
MPC designation(1940) Whipple
Named after
Fred L. Whipple
(American astronomer)[2]
1975 CA · 1932 AD
1950 LH · 1962 SH
1970 EC1 · 1971 KD1
1971 KN · A916 AD
main-belt · (outer)[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc54.50 yr (19,907 days)
Aphelion3.2556 AU
Perihelion2.8656 AU
3.0606 AU
5.35 yr (1,956 days)
0° 11m 2.76s / day
Physical characteristics
Dimensions32.57±0.43 km[4]
33.83 km (derived)[3]
33.87±1.3 km[5]
36.34±0.66 km[6]
37.481±0.250 km[7]
40.431±0.471 km[8]
5.78±0.03 h[9]
6.953±0.003 h[10]
0.0560 (derived)[3]
11.0[5][6][8] · 11.1[1][3][4] · 11.16±0.27[11]

Classification and orbitEdit

Whipple orbits the Sun in the outer main-belt at a distance of 2.9–3.3 AU once every 5 years and 4 months (1,956 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.06 and an inclination of 7° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] The first used observation was made at Goethe Link Observatory in 1962, extending the asteroid's observation arc by 13 years prior to its discovery observation.[12]

Physical characteristicsEdit

Whipple has been characterized as a carbonaceous C-type asteroid by Pan-STARRS photometric survey.[11]

Diameter and albedoEdit

According to the surveys carried out by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite IRAS, the Japanese Akari satellite, and NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, the asteroid measures between 32.6 and 40.4 kilometers in diameter and its surface has a low albedo between 0.04 and 0.06.[4][5][6][7][8] The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link derives an albedo of 0.056 and a diameter of 33.8 kilometers using an absolute magnitude of 11.1.[3]


In December 2011, a rotational lightcurve was obtained for this asteroid from photometric observations by American astronomer Russel Durkee at the Shed of Science Observatory (H39). It gave a well-defined rotation period of 6.953±0.003 hours with a brightness variation of 0.25 magnitude (U=3),[10] superseding a period of 5.78±0.03 hours previously obtained by French astronomer René Roy in 2005 (U=2).[9]


This minor planet was named after American astronomer Fred Lawrence Whipple (1906–2004), author of the icy conglomerate model, also known as the dirty snowball hypothesis.[2]

Whipple worked at the Harvard College Observatory for over 70 years and was the director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory where he developed new methods imaging meteors. He was also president of several commissions at the International Astronomical Union and on NASA's panel for missions to small Solar System bodies.[2] The approved naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center before November 1977 (M.P.C. 3828).[13]


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 1940 Whipple (1975 CA)" (2017-03-24 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(1940) Whipple". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1940) Whipple. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 156. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_1941. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (1940) Whipple". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; Nugent, C.; et al. (November 2012). "Preliminary Analysis of WISE/NEOWISE 3-Band Cryogenic and Post-cryogenic Observations of Main Belt Asteroids". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 759 (1): 5. arXiv:1209.5794. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Tedesco, E. F.; Noah, P. V.; Noah, M.; Price, S. D. (October 2004). "IRAS Minor Planet Survey V6.0". NASA Planetary Data System. 12: IRAS-A-FPA-3-RDR-IMPS-V6.0. Bibcode:2004PDSS...12.....T. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Usui, Fumihiko; Kuroda, Daisuke; Müller, Thomas G.; Hasegawa, Sunao; Ishiguro, Masateru; Ootsubo, Takafumi; et al. (October 2011). "Asteroid Catalog Using Akari: AKARI/IRC Mid-Infrared Asteroid Survey". Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. 63 (5): 1117–1138. Bibcode:2011PASJ...63.1117U. doi:10.1093/pasj/63.5.1117. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b Masiero, Joseph R.; Grav, T.; Mainzer, A. K.; Nugent, C. R.; Bauer, J. M.; Stevenson, R.; et al. (August 2014). "Main-belt Asteroids with WISE/NEOWISE: Near-infrared Albedos". The Astrophysical Journal. 791 (2): 11. arXiv:1406.6645. Bibcode:2014ApJ...791..121M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/791/2/121. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d Mainzer, A.; Grav, T.; Masiero, J.; Hand, E.; Bauer, J.; Tholen, D.; et al. (November 2011). "NEOWISE Studies of Spectrophotometrically Classified Asteroids: Preliminary Results". The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 25. arXiv:1109.6407. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...90M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/90.
  9. ^ a b Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (1940) Whipple". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  10. ^ a b Durkee, Russell I. (April 2012). "Lightcurves of 1940 Whipple and (6823) 1988 ED1". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 39 (2): 92–93. Bibcode:2012MPBu...39...92D. ISSN 1052-8091. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Veres, Peter; Jedicke, Robert; Fitzsimmons, Alan; Denneau, Larry; Granvik, Mikael; Bolin, Bryce; et al. (November 2015). "Absolute magnitudes and slope parameters for 250,000 asteroids observed by Pan-STARRS PS1 - Preliminary results". Icarus. 261: 34–47. arXiv:1506.00762. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  12. ^ a b "1940 Whipple (1975 CA)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  13. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 25 September 2016.

External linksEdit