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16 Psyche
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16 Psyche

16 Psyche
Orbital characteristics 1
Orbit type Main belt
Semimajor axis 2.921 AU
Perihelion distance 2.513 AU
Aphelion distance 3.328 AU
Orbital period 4.99 years
Inclination 3.10°
Eccentricity 0.140
Physical characteristics
Diameter 250 km
Mass 3 1.7 × 1019 kg
Density 3 1.8 g/cm³
Rotation period 3 4.196 hours
Spectral class 1 M
Abs. magnitude 1 5.90
Albedo 4 0.120
History 2
Discoverer A. de Gasparis, 1852

16 Psyche is the 13th largest Main belt asteroid measuring a diameter of 250 kilometers.

It was discovered by Annibale de Gasparis on March 17, 1852 from Naples.

It was named named after the mythical nymph Psyche.

Spectral and other analyses indicate a fairly pure iron-nickel composition. It and other class M asteroids originate from the metallic core of a large differentiated planetesimal similar to asteroid 4 Vesta.

Psyche is massive enough so its perturbations on other asteroids could be measured, resulting in accurate mass and density values. Density turned out to be extremely low, indicating extreme porousity or (unlikely) non-metallic composition. In other words, the asteroid is a gigantic rubble pile. [1]

Only one stellar occultation event by Psyche have so far been observed (from Mexico on March 22, 2002).

Lightcurve variations indicate a non-spherical body.