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(588) Achilles

Reference work entry

Discovered 1906 Feb. 22 by M. F. Wolf at Heidelberg.

Named for the bravest of the Greeks in the Trojan War. As an infant he was plunged in the River Styx by his mother Thetis {see planet  (17)}, thus rendering his body invulnerable excepting the heel by which he was held. He slew Hector {see planet  (624)}, the greatest Trojan warrior. He was eventually killed by an arrow in the heel by Paris {see planet  (3317)}. Achilles is the central figure in Homer’s Iliad {see planets  (5700),  (6604)}. (H 62)

Name suggested (AN 175, 191 (1907)) by J. Palisa.

This planet oscillates around the leading equilateral libration point formed with the Sun and Jupiter. It is the first known example of the stable solution of the three-body problem worked out by Lagrange {see planet  (1006)} in 1772. Palisa also named planets  (617) and  (624) which have similar orbital characteristics to (588) after heroes from the Trojan War. Henceforth such planets have been known as Trojan asteroids. It might seem natural to place the Greeks in one equilateral point and the Trojans in the other. Crommelin {see planet  (1899)} remarked in Observatory, Vol. 30, p. 328 (1907) that “it seems strange that Achilles and Patroclus should be placed on opposite sides of Jupiter”.

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© Springer-Verlag 2003

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