Recovery of 1937 UB (Hermes)

Four images show the recovery of 1937 UB (Hermes) by Brian Skiff using the LONEOS 59-cm Schmidt telescope on 2003 Oct 15. The images were obtained at about 20 minute intervals, and show the asteroid moving at a little more than 0.8 deg/day -- about three times the rate of a main-belt asteroid at opposition.

Hermes was discovered on 1937 October 28 by K. Reinmuth at Heidelberg.

According to Lutz D. Schmadel's Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, 4th edition, "Hermes is the only planet which received a name but which got no number. The planet was very near the Earth, moving at an hourly rate of more than 20 minutes of arc in the discovery night. Hermes passed from opposition to conjunction within only two days. He reached closest approach on Oct. 30 with only 0.005 AU [about twice the distance of the Moon]. Unfortunately, the minor planet was lost immediately after discovery."

Dr. Edward Bowell, director of LONEOS, estimates Hermes to be 1 to 2 km in diameter. It will make its closest approach on 2003 Nov 4 when it will be 0.048 AU (about 18 times the distance to the Moon) from Earth. On its current orbit, Hermes cannot approach Earth more closely than 1.4 lunar distances.

© Lowell Observatory 2008
Contacts: Ted Bowell and Bruce Koehn
Last modified: 2008 April 1