2060 Chiron

This minor planet is named after the most famous centaur from Greek myth. He was the wisest of all the centaurs, and unlike them, was the son of Cronus and the nymph Philyra. He was a skilled oracle, a great teacher, and a brilliant healer, but died due to a stray poisoned arrow of Heracles, unable to heal himself. Upon death, Zeus placed him in the stars as the constellation Centaurus.

This asteroid has a dual-designation as a comet, 95P/Chiron, because it has been observed to exhibit cometary behavior, specifically developing a visible coma at times. A number of other minor planets also exist in this liminal space, as the two definitions are not discrete. Chiron's orbit lies between those of Saturn and Uranus, and was the first of a class of minor planet now called centaurs, semi-icy asteroids that orbit outside of the main belt but inside of the orbit of Neptune.

Chiron is a relatively high-profile minor planet. It has long been considered an astrologically significant body. The symbol that is widely used for it now was supposedly created by notable astrologer Al H. Morrison [1]. It is a key, represented as a tiny oval with a tall vertical line above, with a capital Latin letter K on it.

I don't know why a key was chosen. I confess that I stole the above citation from Wikipedia, because I haven't been able to find a way to access original source, namely the journal of the Congress of Astrological Organisations. Wikipedia says that the symbol was "an inspiration shared amongst Al H. Morrison, Joelle K.D. Mahoney, and Marlene Bassoff," and goes on to explain that the circular part represents the horse-half of a centaur, and the upper part represents the human half. Just as well, the K in the symbol could refer both to discoverer Charles T. Kowal, and to the fist letter of the Greek spelling of Chiron.

Zane Stein [2] gives a more detailed description and example drawing of this symbol as cited from Morrison, which I reproduce here:


"This glyph is a facsimile of the original Chiron glyph, reduced in size.

"Note the falf-hidden perfect X cross pierced by the vertical staff. The sections of the staff are in subtle proportional sequences with the arms of the cross, and with each other. The width and length of the horizontal loop [variant of orb] are in Golden Section relation, and in sequential proportions with the other elements of the glyph."

These are the guidelines I use for my symbol for this minor planet.

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[1] Morrison, Al H. (1977). "Chiron". CAO Times. 3: 57

[2] Zane Stein, "Chiron's Symbol," retrieved October 1 2018, http://www.zanestein.com/chiron_glyph.htm


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