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(18) Melpomene

Reference work entry

Discovered 1852 June 24 by J. R. Hind at London.

Named for the Muse of tragedy. All the Muses were offspring of Jupiter and Mnemosyne {see planet  (57)}. The others are Klio, Euterpe, Thalia, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Kalliope and Urania {see, respectively, planets  (84),  (27),  (23),  (81),  (62),  (33),  (22),  (30)}. (H 4; AN 34, 391 (1852))

Named by the Astronomer Royal G. B. Airy who, in a letter to the Cape astronomer D. Gill, stated: “I look upon her as my planet for the following reason which you will not find in books. On 1839 June 24 I lost my noble boy Arthur. On 1852 June 24 (just 13 years later) I lost my dear daughter Elizabeth. And, while feeling that day of sorrow, I learnt that on that day a planet was discovered which I was requested to name. So I fixed on the name of the Muse of sadness.” (cf. G. Forbes: David Gill, man and astronomer, p. 91 (London, 1916))

For the first time, no sign was adopted for this planet.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

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