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Close Approach of Asteroid (4179) Toutatis

12 Dec 2012, 14:35 UTC
Close Approach of Asteroid (4179) Toutatis
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4179 Toutatis was discovered by C. Pollas at Caussols (France) on January 4, 1989. 4179 Toutatis was first sighted on February 10, 1934, as object 1934 CT, and then promptly lost. It remained a lost asteroid for several decades until it was discovered Pollas.According to Minor Planet Circ. 16444: "Named after the Gaulish god, protector of the tribe. This totemic deity is well known because of the cartoon series "Les aventures d'Asterix" by Uderzo and Goscinny. This tells the stories of two almost fearless heroes living in the last village under siege in Roman-occupied Gaul in 50 B.C., and whose only fear is that the sky may fall onto their heads one day. Since this object is the Apollo object with the smallest inclination known, it is a good candidate to fall on our heads one of these days... But as the chief of the village always says: "C'est pas demain la veille..." Citation written by the discoverer and A. Maury and endorsed by J. D. Mulholland, who with Maury obtained the discovery plates." 4179 Toutatis is a highly irregular body consisting of two distinct "lobes", with maximum widths of about 4.5 km and 2.4 km respectively (4.5 × 2.4 ...

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