(8440) Wigeon

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( 8440 ) Wigeon is a main belt asteroid of the middle, which was discovered on 27 October 1977 by the Dutch astronomer Cornelis Johannes van Houten couple and Ingrid van Houten - Groeneveld. The discovery happened at the 3rd trojan screening, in which the 120 - cm Oschin Schmidt telescope of the Palomar Observatory recorded by Tom Gehrels field plates at Leiden University were screened, 17 years after the beginning of the Palomar - Leiden Surveys.

The asteroid belongs to gefion family, a group of asteroids of the middle main belt, which was named after ( 1272 ) gefion. Previously, the group was also known as Ceres family ( according to (1 ) Ceres, Vincenzo Zappalà 1995) and Minerva family ( according to (93 ) Minerva, AstDyS -2 database ). The timeless ( nichtoskulierenden ) orbital elements of ( 8440 ) Wigeon are almost identical to those of the two smaller, if we start from the absolute brightness of 15.4 and 16.2 compared with 13.1, asteroid ( 139692 ) 2001 QU214 and ( 298655 ) 2004 CS2.

( 8440 ) Wigeon is after Wigeon (Anas penelope ) named a dabbling duck which belongs to the subgenus Mareca (in English Wigeon ). At the time of designation of the asteroid on April 2, 1999, was the Widgeon as a winter visitor to the Dutch Blue List important birds, which was published in 1994 together with the Dutch Red List of endangered bird species. Those asteroids of the Palomar surveys, which are named after birds, bear almost exclusively the style name of the scientific case. In the case of ( 8440 ) Wigeon this was not possible, because there is already an asteroid named Penelope. (201 ) Penelope, discovered in 1879, but is named after Penelope, wife of Odysseus in Greek mythology.