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171 Ophelia is a large, dark Themistian asteroid that was discovered by French astronomer Alphonse Borrelly on January 13, 1877, and named after the fictional character Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

This asteroid is a member of the Themis family of asteroids that share similar orbital elements.<ref name="Moore2011"/> It probably has a primitive composition, similar to that of the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.

A 1979 study of the Algol-like light curve produced by this asteroid concluded that it was possible to model the brightness variation by assuming a binary system with a circular orbit, a period of 13.146 hours, and an inclination of 15° to the line of sight from the Earth.<ref name="Wijesinghe1979"/> Photometric observations of this asteroid at the Leura Observatory in Leura, Australia during 2006 gave a rotation period of 6.6666 ± 0.0002 hours and a brightness variation of 0.50 ± 0.02 in magnitude. This is in agreement with previous studies.<ref name="Oey2006"/>

Ophelia is also the name of a moon of Uranus.


(171) Ophelia sections
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