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Atalante (/ˌætəˈlænt/; minor planet designation: 36 Atalante) is a large, dark main-belt asteroid. It was discovered by the German-French astronomer H. Goldschmidt on October 5, 1855, and named by French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier after the Greek mythological heroine Atalanta (of which Atalante is the French and German form).[3] The asteroid is also classified as a C-type one, according to the Tholen classification system.[1]

36 Atalante
36Atalante (Lightcurve Inversion).png
Three-dimensional model of 36 Atalante created based on light-curve
Discovered byH. Goldschmidt
Discovery dateOctober 5, 1855
MPC designation(36) Atalante
Named after
A901 SB; A912 HC
Main belt
Orbital characteristics
Epoch December 31, 2006 (JD 2454100.5)
Aphelion535.625 Gm (3.580 AU)
Perihelion286.217 Gm (1.913 AU)
410.921 Gm (2.747 AU)
1662.831 d (4.55 a)
17.55 km/s
Physical characteristics
Dimensions105.6 km[1]
110.14 ± 4.38 km[2]
Mass(4.32 ± 3.80) × 1018 kg[2]
Mean density
6.17 ± 5.48 g/cm3[2]
~0.0295 m/s²
~0.0558 km/s
0.414 d (9.93 h)[1]
Temperature~170 K
Spectral type

Observation of the asteroid light curve indicates it is rotating with a period of 9.93 ± 0.01 hours. During this interval, the magnitude varies by an amplitude of 0.12 ± 0.02.[4] By combining the results of multiple light curves, the approximate ellipsoidal shape of the object can be estimated. It appears to be slightly elongated, being about 28.2% longer along one axis compared to the other two.[5] Atalante was observed by Arecibo radar in October 2010.[6][7]

This asteroid shares a mean-motion resonance with the planets Jupiter and Saturn. The computed Lyapunov time for this asteroid is only 4,000 years, indicating that it occupies a highly chaotic orbit that will change randomly over time because of gravitational perturbations of the planets. This is the shortest Lyapunov time of the first 100 named asteroids.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 36 Atalante" (2011-12-30 last obs). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  2. ^ a b c Carry, B. (December 2012), "Density of asteroids", Planetary and Space Science, 73, pp. 98–118, arXiv:1203.4336, Bibcode:2012P&SS...73...98C, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2012.03.009. See Table 1.
  3. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D.; International Astronomical Union (2003), Dictionary of minor planet names, Physics and astronomy online library, 1 (5th ed.), Springer, p. 18, ISBN 3-540-00238-3
  4. ^ Brinsfield, James W. (September 2007), "The Rotation Periods of 36 Atalante and 416 Vaticana", The Minor Planet Bulletin, 34 (3): 58–59, Bibcode:2007MPBu...34...58B
  5. ^ Blanco, C.; Riccioli, D. (September 1998), "Pole coordinates and shape of 30 asteroids", Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement, 131: 385–394, Bibcode:1998A&AS..131..385B, doi:10.1051/aas:1998277
  6. ^ Mike Nolan (2012-01-18). "Scheduled Arecibo Radar Asteroid Observations". Planetary Radar at Arecibo Observatory. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  7. ^ "Radar-Detected Asteroids and Comets". NASA/JPL Asteroid Radar Research. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  8. ^ Šidlichovský, M. (1999), Svoren, J.; Pittich, E. M.; Rickman, H. (eds.), "Resonances and chaos in the asteroid belt", Evolution and source regions of asteroids and comets : proceedings of the 173rd colloquium of the International Astronomical Union, held in Tatranska Lomnica, Slovak Republic, August 24–28, 1998, pp. 297–308, Bibcode:1999esra.conf..297S.

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