Space Islands…

The asteroid belt may not be somewhere you’d expect to find skyscrapers or dim sum, but amusingly you will find a place called Hong Kong there. 3297 Hong Kong, to be precise — a main belt asteroid which orbits the Sun roughly every 5 years. Discovered in 1978 at the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, it’s such a minor object that interestingly enough I can’t find anything in any online databases about it’s mass or size. Which leads me to wonder if perhaps it’s actually comparable in size to Hong Kong island…

(Purple Mountain, incidentally, also has it’s own asteroid, 3494 Purple Mountain.)

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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7 Responses to Space Islands…

  1. Interesting. Asteroid names in Chinese apparently use the same “star” suffix that planets do. At least, that one does. “Hong Kong Star”
    The planets’ literal names in Chinese are:
    Mercury: Water Star
    Venus: Metal Star
    Earth: Land Ball
    Mars: Fire Star
    Jupiter: Wood Star
    Saturn: Earth Star
    Uranus: Sky King Star
    Neptune: Sea King Star
    Pluto: Hell (Underworld) King Star
    (The last three being calques of the Western names, and the five classic planets being named after the five elements of traditional Chinese cosmology)

  2. Anonymous says:

    For H = 12.3, assuming an albedo of 0.25 gives a diameter of about 9 km. If the albedo is as low as 0.05, that’s about 22 km.
    Keith

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that’s not good. Eau de petrochemical! Mercifully, no one I’ve ever lived with felt the need to use mothballs… :P

  4. 6_bleen_7 says:

    Heh—if I knew how to figure in the albedo, I’d write an LJ post on it.

  5. invaderxan says:

    There are a few different types of asteroid, with different albedos, but most are C-type (carbonaceous). I could probably do a quick and dirty calculation, though if it was one of the 25% that aren’t C-type, I might grossly underestimate it’s size… But still. If I have a few spare minutes, I might just do that out of curiosity!

  6. 6_bleen_7 says:

    According to the Web page, its magnitude at 1 AU is 12.3. If you know the average albedo for an asteroid, you could calculate a rough estimate of its size (given several assumptions about its shape, etc.).

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