Famous "lost" asteroid found again -- after 65 years
PARIS (AFP) Oct 16, 2003
Hermes, a large asteroid that skimmed by the Earth in 1937 but has never been seen again, has been spotted once more after years of effort by astronomers, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) said.

"A bright near-earth candidate" reported by astronomer B.A. Skiff early Wednesday, was confirmed within four hours as Hermes by a visual sighting by another astronomer, the Paris-headquartered IAU's Minor Planet Center said in a circular received here Thursday.

Further calculations are being done to determine its orbit, although early estimates suggest that the rock, formally called 1937 UB (Hermes), takes a little more than two years to go around the Sun, the circular said.

Hermes created a stir when it flew by close to the Earth in October 1937 at a distance of less than a million kilometers (650,000 miles), just 60 percent further than the distance of the Earth to the Moon.

Estimated at the time to be about 800 metres (yards) across, Hermes swiftly disappeared from view, leaving doubts about whether its orbit would ever bring so close, or even closer, to the Earth.

Asteroids are speculated to be the rubble left over from the making of the Solar System -- space rocks that orbit the Sun, although sometimes at long and highly elliptical orbits.