Eugenia was discovered in 1857 by Hermann Goldschmidt. It was named after Empress Eugenia di Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, and was the first asteroid to be named after a real person, rather than a figure from classical legend (although there had been controversy about whether 12 Victoria was really named for the mythological figure or for Queen Victoria).
Eugenia is a large asteroid, with a diameter of 214 km. It is an F-type asteroid, which means that it is very dark in colouring (darker than soot) with a carbonaceous composition. Like Mathilde, its density appears to be unusually low, indicating that it may be a loosely-packed rubble pile, not a monolithic object.
In 1998, astronomers at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, discovered a small moon orbiting Eugenia. This was the first time an asteroidal moon had been discovered by a ground-based telescope. Eugenia's moon has been named (45) Eugenia I Petit-Prince, after Empress Eugenia's son, the Prince Imperial. The moon is much smaller than Eugenia, about 13 km in diameter, and takes five days to complete an orbit around it.
- Johnston Archive data
- Astronomical Picture of Day 14 October 1999
- SwRI Press Release
- Orbit of Petit-Prince, companion of Eugenia
- IAUC 8177
|Previous minor planet||45 Eugenia||Next minor planet|
|List of asteroids|
|The minor planets|
|Vulcanoids | Near-Earth asteroids | Main belt | Jupiter Trojans | Centaurs | Damocloids | Comets | Trans-Neptunians (Kuiper belt · Scattered disc · Oort cloud)|
| For other objects and regions, see: asteroid groups and families, binary asteroids, asteroid moons and the Solar system |
For a complete listing, see: List of asteroids. See also Pronunciation of asteroid names and Meanings of asteroid names.