2 Pâllâs (#)
Fr.: 2 Pallas
The largest → asteroid and the second to be discovered, by Heinrich Olbers in 1802. Before the reclassification of → Ceres, Pallas was the second largest asteroid. Pallas is slightly irregular in shape with dimensions 570 x 525 x 482 km. It appears to have the same composition as → meteorites classed as low-grade → carbonaceous chondrites. Its → rotation period is 9 to 12 hours, and its → semi-major axis 2.773 → astronomical unints.
In Gk. mythology, Pallas was one of the Titans. The winged husband of Styx, he is the father of Nike and maybe Eos. Some legends claim that he is the father of Athena, possibly because of her nickname Pallas-Athena.
Named after the German naturalist Peter Pallas (1741-1811), who first studied such a type of meteorites.