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3070 Aitken, provisional designation 1949 GK, is a stony Flora asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 4 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 4 April 1949, by astronomers of the Indiana Asteroid Program at Goethe Link Observatory in Indiana, United States. The asteroid was named after American astronomer Robert Grant Aitken.[2][6]

3070 Aitken
Discovery [1]
Discovered byIndiana University
(Indiana Asteroid Program)
Discovery siteGoethe Link Obs.
Discovery date4 April 1949
MPC designation(3070) Aitken
Named after
Robert G. Aitken
(American astronomer)[2]
1949 GK · 1942 GQ
A907 HA
main-belt · Flora[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc74.56 yr (27,232 days)
Aphelion2.7616 AU
Perihelion1.8504 AU
2.3060 AU
3.50 yr (1,279 days)
0° 16m 53.4s / day
Physical characteristics
Dimensions3.85 km (calculated)[3]
6.3965±0.0026 h[4]
0.24 (assumed)[3]
13.7[1] · 14.27±0.28[5] · 13.789±0.005 (R)[4] · 14.24[3]


Orbit and classificationEdit

Aitken is a member of the Flora family, one of the largest groups of stony asteroids in the main-belt. It orbits the Sun in the inner main-belt at a distance of 1.9–2.8 AU once every 3 years and 6 months (1,279 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.20 and an inclination of 2° with respect to the ecliptic.[1]

In 1907, the asteroid was first identified as A907 HA at Taunton Observatory (803) in Massachusetts. A precovery, taken at Turku Observatory in 1942, extends the Aitken's observation arc by 7 years prior to its official discovery observation at Goethe Link.[6]

Physical characteristicsEdit

Aitken has been characterized as a stony S-type asteroid.[3]

In November 2010, rotational lightcurve of Aitken was obtained from photometric observations made at the Palomar Transient Factory in California. Lightcurve analysis gave a rotation period of 6.3965 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.38 magnitude (U=2).[4]

The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes a standard albedo for stony asteroids of 0.20 and calculates a diameter of 3.9 kilometers with an absolute magnitude of 14.24.[3]


This minor planet was named for of American astronomer Robert Grant Aitken (1864–1951), who was the 4th director of the Lick Observatory from 1930 to 1935, successor of director William Campbell, after whom the minor planet 2751 Campbell was named.[2]

Aitken became a well known expert on double stars and, in 1932, published the New General Catalogue of Double Stars Within 120° of the North Pole,[7] He is also known for his book The Binary Stars that was first published in 1918.[8] He is also honored by the lunar crater Aitken.[2] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 21 April 1989 (M.P.C. 14481).[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 3070 Aitken (1949 GK)" (2016-11-03 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(3070) Aitken". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (3070) Aitken. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 253. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_3071. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "LCDB Data for (3070) Aitken". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  4. ^ 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 3 May 2016.
  5. ^ 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 3 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b "3070 Aitken (1949 GK)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  7. ^ Daintith, John (1981). "Aitken, Robert Grant". Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-87196-396-3.
  8. ^ The Binary Stars. Dover (digital version). 1964. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  9. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 3 May 2016.

External linksEdit