13123 Tyson

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13123 Tyson
Discovery [1]
Discovered by C. Shoemaker
D. H. Levy
Discovery site Palomar Obs.
Discovery date 16 May 1994
MPC designation (13123) Tyson
Named after
Neil deGrasse Tyson
1994 KA · 1995 YO2
main-belt · Phocaea[3]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 16 February 2017 (JD 2457800.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 63.48 yr (23,186 days)
Aphelion 2.9994 AU
Perihelion 1.7202 AU
2.3598 AU
Eccentricity 0.2710
3.63 yr (1,324 days)
0° 16m 18.84s / day
Inclination 23.288°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 8.22 km (calculated)[3]
10.87±0.61 km[4]
3.329±0.001 h[5]
3.3303±0.0002 h[a]
0.23 (assumed)[3]
12.19±0.09 (R)[a] · 12.20[4] · 12.3[1] · 12.41±0.41[6] · 12.64[3]

13123 Tyson, provisional designation 1994 KA, is a stony Phocaea asteroid and a possible binary system[a] from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 10 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered by American astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker and Canadian astronomer David H. Levy at the U.S. Palomar Observatory, California, on 16 May 1994.[7]

The stony S-type asteroid is a member of the Phocaea family, a rather small group of asteroids with similar orbital characteristics, named after its largest member, 25 Phocaea. It orbits orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.7–3.0 AU once every 3 years and 8 months (1,324 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.27 and an inclination of 23° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] The first precovery was taken at Palomar's Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) in 1953, extending the asteroid's observation arc by 41 years prior to its discovery.[7]

In February 2015, a rotational light-curve was obtained by astronomer Petr Pravec at the Astronomical Institute, Czech Republic. It showed a well-defined rotation period of 3.3303±0.0002 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.20 in magnitude (U=3).[a] A previous photometric observation in August 2009, at the Oakley Southern Sky Observatory, Australia, gave a light-curve with a similar period of 3.329±0.001 and a brightness variation of 0.35 in magnitude (U=3-).[5]

According to the survey carried out by NASA's space-based Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, the asteroid measures 10.9 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.197,[4] while the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes an albedo of 0.23 and calculates a smaller diameter of 8.2 kilometers, based on an absolute magnitude of 12.64.[3]

The minor planet was named in honor of American astrophysicist and popular science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson (b. 1958). In 1996, he became director of New York's Hayden Planetarium and oversaw its complete renovation. Tyson was also a research affiliate at Princeton University.[2] Naming citation was published on 11 November 2000 (M.P.C. 41572).[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Pravec (2015) web: rotation period of 3.3303±0.0002 hours with a brightness amplitude of 0.20 mag at H= 12.19±0.09 (R) and an assigned quality code of U=3. It is a possible binary asteroid, but lacks mutual eclipse/occultation events. Two periods were derived: 3.3302 and 3.862 hours, with an amplitude of 0.2 and 0.04 mag, respectively. Summary figures at Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link (CALL) for (13123) Tyson, also see Pravec, P.; Wolf, M.; Sarounova, L. (2015)
  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 13123 Tyson (1994 KA)" (2016-08-08 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (13123) Tyson. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 793. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (13123) Tyson". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; Nugent, C.; et al. (November 2012). "Preliminary Analysis of WISE/NEOWISE 3-Band Cryogenic and Post-cryogenic Observations of Main Belt Asteroids". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 759 (1): 5. arXiv:1209.5794Freely accessible. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Krotz, Jonathan; Albers, Kendra; Carbo, Landry; Kragh, Katherine; Meiers, Andrew; Yim, Arnold; et al. (July 2010). "Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at the Oakley Southern Sky Observatory". The Minor Planet Bulletin. 37 (3): 99–101. Bibcode:2010MPBu...37...99K. ISSN 1052-8091. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  6. ^ Veres, Peter; Jedicke, Robert; Fitzsimmons, Alan; Denneau, Larry; Granvik, Mikael; Bolin, Bryce; et al. (November 2015). "Absolute magnitudes and slope parameters for 250,000 asteroids observed by Pan-STARRS PS1 - Preliminary results". Icarus. 261: 34–47. arXiv:1506.00762Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "13123 Tyson (1994 KA)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 

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