Elpis, minor planet designation: 59 Elpis, is a large main belt asteroid that orbits the Sun with a period of 4.47 years. It is a C-type asteroid, meaning that it is very dark and carbonaceous in composition. In the Tholen scheme it has a classification of CP, while Bus and Binzen class it as type B.[6]

59 Elpis
Discovered byJean Chacornac
Discovery dateSeptember 12, 1860
(59) Elpis
Named after
Main belt
AdjectivesElpidian /ɛlˈpɪdiən/[2]
Orbital characteristics
Epoch December 31, 2006 (JD 2454100.5)
Aphelion453.624 Gm (3.032 AU)
Perihelion358.808 Gm (2.398 AU)
406.216 Gm (2.715 AU)
1634.355 d (4.47 a)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions164.8±6.0 km[3]
Mass(3.00±0.50)×1018 kg[4]
Mean density
1.30±0.26 g/cm3[4]
13.69 h[3]

Elpis was discovered by Jean Chacornac from Paris, on September 12, 1860. It was Chacornac's sixth and final asteroid discovery.

A controversy arose over the naming of Elpis. Urbain Le Verrier, director of the Paris Observatory, at first refused to allow Chacornac to name the object, because Leverrier was promoting a plan to reorganize asteroid nomenclature by naming them after their discoverers, rather than mythological figures. A protest arose among astronomers. At the Vienna Observatory, Edmund Weiss, who had been studying the asteroid, asked the observatory's director, Karl L. Littrow, to name it. Littrow chose Elpis, a Greek personification of hope, in reference to the favorable political conditions in Europe at the time. In 1862, Leverrier permitted Chacornac to choose a name, and he selected "Olympia" at the suggestion of John Russell Hind.[7] However, Elpis is the name that stuck.[8]

Elpis has been studied by radar.[9]


  1. ^ The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, under "Schwartz, Madame von"
  2. ^ E.g.American ecclesiastical review, v. 21 (1899)
  3. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 59 Elpis" (2011-09-01 last obs). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b Carry, B. (December 2012), "Density of asteroids", Planetary and Space Science, vol. 73, pp. 98–118, arXiv:1203.4336, Bibcode:2012P&SS...73...98C, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2012.03.009. See Table 1.
  5. ^ Asteroid Data Sets Archived 2009-12-17 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Rivkin, A. S.; et al. (September 2003), "Hydrogen concentrations on C-class asteroids derived from remote sensing", Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 38 (9): 1383–1398, Bibcode:2003M&PS...38.1383R, doi:10.1111/j.1945-5100.2003.tb00321.x.
  7. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 173.
  8. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 20–1. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  9. ^ "Radar-Detected Asteroids and Comets". NASA/JPL Asteroid Radar Research. Retrieved 26 January 2012.

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