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1859 Kovalevskaya, provisional designation 1972 RS2, is a carbonaceous asteroid in the outer regions of the asteroid belt, about 46 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered by Russian–Ukrainian astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravleva at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Nauchnyj on 4 September 1972.<ref name="MPC-Kovalevskaya" /> The C-type asteroid orbits the Sun at a distance of 2.9–3.5 AU once every 5 years and 9 months (2,101 days).<ref name="jpldata" />

In 2015, its rotation period of 11 hours has been determined by the Palomar Transient Factory Survey based on photometric measurements of the body's light-curve.<ref name="Waszczak-2015" />

The asteroid was named in honor of Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850–1891), the first female Russian mathematician known for her researches on Abelian integrals and the rotational motion of solid bodies. The lunar carter Kovalevskaya is also named after her.<ref name="springer" />

The discoverer, Lyudmila Zhuravlyova, is ranked 61 in the Minor Planet Center's ranking of those who discovered minor planets. She discovered 200 such bodies, 13 of which were co-discoveries, between 1972 and 1992.<ref name="MPC-discoverers" />


1859 Kovalevskaya sections
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