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174P/60558 Echeclus (2000 EC98)
Discovered by
Spacewatch
Discovery date
3 March 2000
Discovery site
Kitt Peak Obs.
Alternative designations
2000 EC98, 2002 GJ27
Semi-major axis
10.680 AU (1.5977 Tm)
Eccentricity
0.45537
Orbital period
34.90 yr (12749 d)
Mean anomaly
7.51102°
Inclination
4.3445°
Longitude of ascending node
173.335°
Argument of perihelion
162.889°
Sidereal rotation period
26.802 h (1.1168 d)
Albedo
0.04
Apparent magnitude
~18.8
Absolute Magnitude
9.6
Epoch
13 January 2016 (JD 2457400.5)
Observation arc
13264 days (36.31 yr)
TJupiter
3.031
Dimensions
84 km
Aphelion
15.544 AU (2.3253 Tm)
Perihelion
5.8168 AU (870.18 Gm)

Name

Echeclus (Greek: Έχεκλος) is a centaur in Greek mythology.

60558 Echeclus is only the second comet (after Chiron) that was named as a minor planet, rather than after the name of its discoverer. Chiron is also a centaur; other centaurs are being observed for signs of a cometary coma.

Besides Chiron, three other objects are cross-listed as both comets and minor planets: 7968 Elst–Pizarro (133P/Elst–Pizarro), 4015 Wilson–Harrington (107P/Wilson–Harrington), and 118401 LINEAR (176P/LINEAR).

Chunk

On 30 December 2005, when 13.1 AU from the Sun, a large chunk of Echeclus was observed to break off, causing a great cloud of dust. Astronomers have speculated this could have been caused by an impact or by an explosive release of volatile substances.

2011 outburst

Echeclus appears to have outburst again around June 2011 when it was 8.5 AU from the Sun. On 24 June 2011, follow up imaging with the 2 meter Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope South showed the coma of Echeclus to be very close to the sky background limit.

Orbit

Echeclus came to perihelion in April 2015.

Centaurs have short dynamical lives due to strong interactions with the giant planets. Echeclus is estimated to have an orbital half-life of about 610,000 years.

Last modified
25/12/2016 - 10:48