4 Vesta

This minor planet was discovered by Heinrich Olbers in 1802, and named by mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss. It is one of the largest bodies in the asteroid belt. It is named after the Roman goddess of the hearth.

The symbol is a small flame over a hearth. There have been multiple distinct versions of this symbol, and the one that Gauss designed himself, a pair of Aries-like curves resting on a horizontal rectangle, did not seem to catch on. Instead, the symbol for Vesta used most often in modern times is the one above, possibly created by Eleanor Bach [1]. It is represented in Unicode as U+26B6, by the symbol ⚶.

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[1] Denis Moskowitz, "Asteroid Symbols," http://www.suberic.net/~dmm/graphics/astro/asteroids.html


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