2906 Caltech, provisional designation 1983 AE2, is an asteroid from the outer region of the asteroid belt, approximately 56 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 13 January 1983 by American astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker at Palomar Observatory in the United States.[12] It is named after the California Institute of Technology.[2]

2906 Caltech
Discovery [1]
Discovered byC. Shoemaker
Discovery sitePalomar Obs.
Discovery date13 January 1983
MPC designation(2906) Caltech
Named after
(owner of Palomar Obs.)[2]
1983 AE2 · 1957 KJ
1957 MA · 1974 LC
1976 YS2 · 1983 CD
main-belt · (outer)[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc60.01 yr (21,920 days)
Aphelion3.5070 AU
Perihelion2.8262 AU
3.1666 AU
5.64 yr (2,058 days)
0° 10m 29.64s / day
Physical characteristics
Dimensions50.83±15.31 km[4]
52.49±13.11 km[5]
57.88 km (derived)[3]
57.98±2.3 km[6]
58.678±0.659 km[7]
61.07±0.72 km[8]
12.99±0.05 h[9]
12.9937±0.0005 h[9]
12.999±0.0169 h[10]
0.0438 (derived)[3]
SMASS = Xc · C[3]
9.96±0.59[11] · 10.0[6][7][8] · 10.035±0.002 (R)[10] · 10.10[4] · 10.2[1][3] · 10.33[5]

Orbit and classificationEdit

Caltech orbits the Sun in the outer main-belt at a distance of 2.8–3.5 AU once every 5 years and 8 months (2,058 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.11 and an inclination of 31° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] It was first identified as 1957 KJ at Goethe Link Observatory in 1957, extending the body's observation arc by 26 years prior to its official discovery at Palomar.[12]

Physical characteristicsEdit

In the SMASS taxonomy, Caltech is a Xc-type asteroid, which transitions between the core X and carbonaceous C types.[1]

Rotation periodEdit

Between 2006 and 2012, a total of 3 rotational lightcurves of Caltech were obtained from photometric observations by Italian amateur astronomers Silvano Casulli and Federico Manzini as well as at the Palomar Transient Factory in California. Lightcurve analysis gave a concurring rotation period of 12.99 hours with a brightness variation between 0.16 and 0.27 magnitude (U=2-/2/2).[9][10]

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, Caltech measures between 50.83 and 61.07 kilometers in diameter, and its surface has an albedo between 0.048 and 0.06.[4][5][6][7][8] The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link derives an albedo of 0.0438 and a diameter of 57.88 kilometers using an absolute magnitude of 12.2.[3]


This minor planet is named after the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, which is the owner and operator of the discovering Palomar Observatory. The discovery was made with the 0.46-m Schmidt telescope, the first telescope installed on Palomar.[2] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 22 September 1983 (M.P.C. 8154).[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 2906 Caltech (1983 AE2)" (2017-06-03 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(2906) Caltech". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (2906) Caltech. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 239. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_2907. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (2906) Caltech". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Nugent, C. R.; Mainzer, A.; Masiero, J.; Bauer, J.; Cutri, R. M.; Grav, T.; et al. (December 2015). "NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year One: Preliminary Asteroid Diameters and Albedos". The Astrophysical Journal. 814 (2): 13. arXiv:1509.02522. Bibcode:2015ApJ...814..117N. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/814/2/117. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Nugent, C. R.; Mainzer, A.; Bauer, J.; Cutri, R. M.; Kramer, E. A.; Grav, T.; et al. (September 2016). "NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year Two: Asteroid Diameters and Albedos". The Astronomical Journal. 152 (3): 12. arXiv:1606.08923. Bibcode:2016AJ....152...63N. doi:10.3847/0004-6256/152/3/63. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  6. ^ 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: IRAS-A-FPA-3-RDR-IMPS-V6.0. Bibcode:2004PDSS...12.....T. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  7. ^ 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 9 March 2017.
  8. ^ 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 17 October 2019. (online, AcuA catalog p. 153)
  9. ^ a b c Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (2906) Caltech". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Waszczak, Adam; Chang, Chan-Kao; Ofek, Eran O.; Laher, Russ; Masci, Frank; Levitan, David; et al. (September 2015). "Asteroid Light Curves from the Palomar Transient Factory Survey: Rotation Periods and Phase Functions from Sparse Photometry". The Astronomical Journal. 150 (3): 35. arXiv:1504.04041. Bibcode:2015AJ....150...75W. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/150/3/75. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  11. ^ 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 9 March 2017.
  12. ^ a b "2906 Caltech (1983 AE2)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  13. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 9 March 2017.

External linksEdit