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Pandora (minor planet designation: 55 Pandora) is a fairly large and very bright asteroid in the asteroid belt. Pandora was discovered by American astronomer and Catholic priest George Mary Searle on September 10, 1858, from the Dudley Observatory near Albany, NY.[2] It was his first and only asteroid discovery.

55 Pandora
55Pandora (Lightcurve Inversion).png
Lightcurve-based 3D-model of Pandora
Discovered byGeorge Mary Searle
Discovery siteAlbany, New York
Discovery dateSeptember 10, 1858
MPC designation(55) Pandora
Named after
Main belt
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch June 27, 2015
Aphelion3.152 AU (471.5 Gm)
Perihelion2.367 AU (354.1 Gm)
2.760 AU (412.9 Gm)
4.58 yr (1,674 d)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions66.7 km
Mass3.1×1017 kg
4.8040 h [1]
0.301 [1]

It is named after Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology, who unwisely opened a box that released evil into the world. The name was apparently chosen by Blandina Dudley, widow of the founder of the Dudley Observatory, who had been involved in an acrimonious dispute with astronomer B. A. Gould. Gould felt that the name had an "apt significance".[3] The asteroid shares its name with Pandora, a moon of Saturn.

Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Rozhen Observatory in Bulgaria during 2010 gave a light curve with a period of 4.7992 hours and a brightness variation of Δm=0.22 mag. This is consistent with a period of 4.804 hours and an amplitude of 0.24 obtained during a 1977 study.[4]

Recent analysis has identified Pandora as the second-largest of the E-type asteroids, after 44 Nysa.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "55 Pandora". JPL Small-Body Database Browser. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Numbered Minor Planets 1–5000", Discovery Circumstances, IAU Minor Planet center, retrieved 7 April 2013.
  3. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 20. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  4. ^ Radeva, V.; et al. (2011), "Rotation periods of the asteroids 55 Pandora, 78 Diana and 815 Coppelia", Bulgarian Astronomical Journal, 17, pp. 133–141, Bibcode:2012MPBu...39...57P.

External linksEdit