4324 Bickel

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4324 Bickel
Discovery [1]
Discovered by L. G. Taff
Discovery site Lincoln Laboratory ETS
Discovery date 24 December 1981
MPC designation (4324) Bickel
Named after
Wolf Bickel
(amateur astronomer)[2]
1981 YA1 · 1932 UD
1932 WE · 1948 SD
1948 TK2 · 1964 PE
1966 DC · 1972 NF
1973 YR3 · 1985 XX
A924 YC
main-belt · (middle)
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 92.44 yr (33,765 days)
Aphelion 3.0537 AU
Perihelion 2.0373 AU
2.5455 AU
Eccentricity 0.1996
4.06 yr (1,483 days)
0° 14m 33.72s / day
Inclination 7.7760°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 11.65±0.56 km[3]
12.39 km (calculated)[4]
16 h[5]
26.5 h[6]
26.592±0.003 h[5]
0.20 (assumed)[4]
11.80[3] · 11.9[1][4] · 12.37±0.29[7]

4324 Bickel, provisional designation 1981 YA1, is a stony asteroid from the middle region of the asteroid belt, approximately 12 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 24 December 1981, by American astronomer Laurence Taff at Lincoln Laboratory's Experimental Test Site in Socorro, New Mexico, United States. The asteroid was named after amateur astronomer Wolf Bickel.[2]

Orbit and classification[edit]

Bickel orbits the Sun in the central main-belt at a distance of 2.0–3.1 AU once every 4 years and 1 month (1,483 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.20 and an inclination of 8° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] It was first identified as A924 YC at Heidelberg Observatory in 1924, extending the body's observation arc by 57 years prior to its official discovery observation at Socorro.[2]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Bickel has been characterized as a common S-type asteroid.[4]

Rotation period[edit]

In September 2001, the first ever conducted photometric observation of Bickel at the Rozhen Observatory, Bulgaria, rendered a rotational lightcurve with a longer-than-average period of 26.5 hours and a brightness variation of 0.63 magnitude (U=2).[6] A more refined lightcurve was obtained in October 2005, by astronomers Raymond Poncy, Laurent Bernasconi and Rui Goncalves, which gave a well-defined period of 26.592±0.003 hours with an amplitude of 0.72 magnitude (U=3).[5]

Diameter and albedo[edit]

According to observations by NASA's space-based Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, Bickel measures 11.7 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo of 0.248,[3] while the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes a standard albedo for stony asteroids of 0.20 and calculates a slightly larger diameter of 12.4 kilometers with an absolute magnitude of 11.9.[4]


This minor planet was named in honor of German amateur astronomer Wolf Bickel (born 1942) who began observing minor planets at his private Bergisch Gladbach Observatory in 1995.[2]

At the time this minor planet was named, he had discovered more than 540 numbered minor planets.[2] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 22 July 2013 (M.P.C. 84378).[8] Bickel has become Germany's most prolific discoverer of asteroids, ahead of (professional) astronomer Freimut Börngen, the first time in 150 years, that an amateur astronomer is ranking first among the German top discoverers.[9] His total number of discoveries has since increased to more than 600.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 4324 Bickel (1981 YA1)" (2017-06-02 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "4324 Bickel (1981 YA1)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Masiero, Joseph R.; Mainzer, A. K.; Grav, T.; Bauer, J. M.; Cutri, R. M.; Nugent, C.; et al. (November 2012). "Preliminary Analysis of WISE/NEOWISE 3-Band Cryogenic and Post-cryogenic Observations of Main Belt Asteroids". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 759 (1): 5. arXiv:1209.5794. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759L...8M. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/759/1/L8. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "LCDB Data for (4324) Bickel". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Behrend, Raoul. "Asteroids and comets rotation curves – (4324) Bickel". Geneva Observatory. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b Ivanova, V. G.; Apostolovska, G.; Borisov, G. B.; Bilkina, B. I. (November 2002). "Results from photometric studies of asteroids at Rozhen National Observatory, Bulgaria". In: Proceedings of Asteroids: 505–508. Bibcode:2002ESASP.500..505I. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  7. ^ Veres, Peter; Jedicke, Robert; Fitzsimmons, Alan; Denneau, Larry; Granvik, Mikael; Bolin, Bryce; et al. (November 2015). "Absolute magnitudes and slope parameters for 250,000 asteroids observed by Pan-STARRS PS1 - Preliminary results". Icarus. 261: 34–47. arXiv:1506.00762. Bibcode:2015Icar..261...34V. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.08.007. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  8. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Bickel überholt Börngen – die erfolgreichsten deutschen Kleinplanetenentdecker" [Bickel overtakes Börgen – Most prolific German discoverers of minor planets] (PDF). VdS-Journal – Vereinigung der Sternfreunde. April 2013. pp. 80–83. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.

External links[edit]