/ear"os, er"os/, n., pl. Erotes /euh roh"teez/ for 2, 3.1. the ancient Greek god of love, identified by the Romans with Cupid.2. a representation of this god.3. a winged figure of a child representing love or the power of love.5. Astron. an asteroid that approaches to within 14 million miles (221/2 million km) of the earth once every 44 years.6. Psychiatry.a. the libido.b. instincts for self-preservation collectively.
* * *IFirst asteroid found to travel mainly inside the orbit of Mars and the first to be landed on by a spacecraft.Discovered in 1898 and named for the Greek god of love, Eros is an elongated body about 20.5 mi (33 km) in its greatest dimension. It can approach to within 14 million mi (22 million km) of Earth. In 2000 the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR Shoemaker) spacecraft orbited Eros, collecting a full year of data, and in 2001 it set down gently on Eros's surface.IIGreek god of love.Though Hesiod declared him one of the primeval gods born of Chaos, he was later said to be the son of Aphrodite. His Roman counterpart was Cupid. Eros was depicted as a beautiful winged youth carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows. In later literature and art he became increasingly younger, ending as an infant. His cult centre was at Thespiae, but he also shared a sanctuary with Aphrodite at Athens.
* * *in Greek religion, god of love. In the Theogony of Hesiod (fl. 700 BC), Eros was a primeval god, son of Chaos, the original primeval emptiness of the universe; but later tradition made him the son of Aphrodite, goddess of sexual love and beauty, by either Zeus (the king of the gods), Ares (god of war and of battle), or Hermes (divine messenger of the gods). Eros was god not simply of passion but also of fertility. His brother was Anteros, the god of mutual love, who was sometimes described as his opponent. The chief associates of Eros were Pothos and Himeros (Longing and Desire). Later writers assumed the existence of a number of Erotes (like the several versions of the Roman Amor). In Alexandrian poetry he degenerated into a mischievous child. In archaic art he was represented as a beautiful winged youth but tended to be made younger and younger until, by the Hellenistic period, he was an infant. His chief cult centre was at Thespiae in Boeotia, where the Erotidia were celebrated. He also shared a sanctuary with Aphrodite on the north wall of the Acropolis at Athens. See also Cupid.▪ asteroidfirst asteroid found to travel mainly inside the orbit of Mars and the first to be orbited and landed on by a spacecraft. Eros was discovered in 1898 by the German astronomer Gustav Witt at the Urania Observatory in Berlin. It is named for the god of love in Greek mythology.A member of a group called near-Earth (asteroid), or Earth-approaching, asteroids, Eros can pass within 22 million km (14 million miles) of Earth. During a close approach in the 1930s (before the development of direct radar ranging), astronomers were able to observe the asteroid's parallax displacement against the background stars to refine their measurement of Earth's mean distance from the Sun, the basis for the astronomical unit. Eros was the first asteroid found (1901) to display variations in brightness due to its rotation. These periodic light fluctuations were later used to determine its rotation period (5.27 hours), its elongated shape, and, with other observations, its size, which is about twice that of New York City's Manhattan Island. Spectral observations established that Eros belongs to the S compositional class, the most common class among asteroids located in the inner part of the main asteroid belt.In 2000 the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Shoemaker) spacecraft (launched 1996) entered orbit around Eros and collected a full year of data on its surface composition, topography, mass, gravity field, internal structure, and other properties before touching down gently on its surface. NEAR Shoemaker obtained precise dimensions (33 × 13 × 13 km [20.5 × 8 × 8 miles]), found evidence of geologic phenomena that could have originated on a much larger parent body from which Eros was derived, and obtained thousands of images revealing numerous ridges, grooves, crater chains, and boulders. A significant discovery was that Eros is an undifferentiated asteroid—i.e., it was never subjected to extensive melting and segregation into layers of distinct composition—and so may be a pristine sample of primordial solar system material.Edward F. Tedesco
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