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(55) Pandora

Reference work entry

Discovered 1858 Sept. 10 by G. Searle at Albany.

Named after the first mortal female. Pandora was made from clay by Vulcan at the request of Jupiter as a curse on Prometheus {see planet  (1809)}. She was given all the necessary gifts by the gods — beauty by Venus, eloquence by Mercury, etc., hence the name. Then she was given a beautiful box to present to the man who married her. Prometheus saw through the deceit but his brother Epimetheus {see planet  (1810)} married Pandora. He opened the box and there issued a multitude of evils which have not ceased to this day to afflict the human race. Only hope remained at the bottom of the box. In another version she was not to open the box but curiosity overruled. (H 8)

A famous controversy of the last century was that which raged between B. A. Gould and the trustees of the Dudley Observatory at Albany, from which place he issued the Astronomical Journal. The published charges and countercharges can be found today in astronomical libraries. He was eventually ejected by “hired ruffians”. Mrs. Dudley has proposed the name Pandora, “the apt significance of which will be obvious to all” (Gould). The name Pandora has also been given to the satellite Saturn XVII, discovered 1980 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

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© Springer-Verlag 2003

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