Chiron Rides Again: a New Planetoid
Astronomer Charles Kowal of the California Institute of Technology is credited with discovering a new “mini-planet” which is located between Saturn and Uranus. On November l, l977, Kowal was examining photographic plates which had been made on October 18 and 19 when he spotted the hairline streak that signaled a moving body against the backdrop of stars. The new object is estimated to be between l00 and 400 miles in diameter, perhaps too small to be called a planet, but its position is far enough from the asteroid belt that Kowal is reluctant to class it with them. One theory is that it is an escaped moon from Uranus, since it is closer to Uranus. Its discovery position is reported to be 5 Taurus. Kowal has chosen to name it “Chiron”, for the Centaur who was half man and half horse. Chiron was famous for music, medicine, shooting, the use of plants and medicinal herbs. After being tutor to Achilles, Jupiter is said to have placed him among the stars as Sagittarius, the archer. How about that, just in time for our Sagittarius issue! Further details will be provided as they become available.