The myth of Herakles and Pholus
, relates that the centaur was hosting the hero during his search for the Erymanthian boar.
Identities, as with Pholus
the centaur, are undecidable.
These include (2060) Chiron, orbiting between Saturn and Uranus; (5335) Damocles with an orbit ranging from near Mars to beyond Uranus; and (5145) Pholus
, with perihelion less than Saturn's and aphelion greater than Neptune's They are thought to be objects in transition between the outer and inner solar system bodies and are all potential comets.
Rabinowitz found object 5145 Pholus (initially called 1992 AD) traveling in a highly eccentric orbit between 8.7 and 32.3 astronomical units from the Sun.
Just where do Pholus, 1992 Q|B.sub.1~, and 1993 FW fit among the bodies of the solar system?
The recently discovered "asteroid" 5145 Pholus
(1992 AD) is probably an extreme example of this group.
The asteroid, which has received the permanent name 5145 Pholus, is actually 3 1/2 times (1.4 magnitudes) brighter at near-infrared wavelengths than it is in visible light.
Mueller (Kitt Peak National Observatory) independently propose that a veneer of organic compounds covers Pholus's surface.
Since the orbit of Pholus extends beyond that of Neptune, the minor planet could have once had a thin layer of methane frost that has now been converted to more complex organic material in the harsh space environment.
In early 1991 a group at the University of Arizona found a second Chiron-like object, 5145 Pholus, which travels between 8.7 and 32 a.u.
How then can the existence of objects like Chiron and Pholus be explained?
Now contrast that with the discovery of Chiron in 1977, followed by Pholus in 1991, and 1992 Q[B.sub.1] last year.