(87) Sylvia

Reference work entry

Discovered 1866 May 16 by N. R. Pogson at Madras.

Named possibly in honor of Sylvie Petiaux-Hugo Flammarion, first wife of Camille Flammarion {see planet  (1021)}, French popularizer of astronomy. This interpretation seems very questionable. Paluzíe-Borrell quoted the book of Camille Flammarion, Astronomie Populaire, Lib. IV, Chap. V: “La 87e, la 107e, la 141e, la 154e, la 169e, ont été nommées en l’honneur d’un jeune astronome qui consacrait ses meilleures années au culte de l’astronomie et a l’apostolat de cette belle science.” (H 12)

On February 18, 2001 the CalTec astronomers J.-L. Margot and M. Brown discovered a small satellite of (87) Sylvia using the adaptive optics system of the 10-m Keck II telescope in Hawaii. The satellite S/2001 (87) 1 orbits Sylvia at a distance of approx. 1200 km once every four days.

The discoverer stated: “The name Sylvia as in the case of Sappho {see planet  (80)} was chosen out of a list supplied to me some years back by Sir John Herschel.” Herschel undoubtedly was an advocate for using classical names. A very similar way of thinking must be assumed for Pogson who exclusively used classical names for former discoveries {see planets  (29),  (42),  (43),  (46),  (67), and  (80), respectively}.

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© Springer-Verlag 2003

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