279 Thule

Not to be confused with 486958 2014 MU69, currently nicknaked Ultima Thule by the New Horizons team.

This minor planet is named after the mythical northern land attested to in Greek myth. Originally it was just considered to be the far northern edge of the world, the strange and barely-habitable realm at the far reaches of the world, where some said that land, sea, and air all mingled into a single chaotic element. The name Ultima Thule denotes this kind of frontier. Later ancient historians connected the name Thule to various real-life locations, including Iceland, Greenland, or Scandinavia.

This name was chosen for this minor planet because it was the first asteroid to be discovered with a semi-major axis greater than 4 AU, a frontier in its own right.

The symbol of this minor planet is the top half of the Earth with an asteroidal star above it, in order to convey the idea of "the land beyond the north."

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