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9 Metis

An asteroid of the main Asteroid Belt, named for an ancient Greek goddess, daughter of the Titan Oceanus, who became the first wife of Zeus and personified wisdom and intelligence. Metis also gave her name to a small moon of Jupiter, though this asteroid has held that name for much longer than its namesake Jovian moon.

Physically Metis has an irregular shape, reaching rather more than 200km along its longest axis. One end of the asteroid is rather sharper and narrower than the other, giving it a very approximate arrowhead shape.

Metis is noted as being rather more dense and rich in metals than is typical for asteroids, and this seems to be due to its cataclysmic history. At one time it is thought to have formed the inner core of a much larger asteroid, one that would have been among the few largest bodies in the entire Asteroid Belt. That ancient asteroid was broken apart long ago in a catastrophic collision that sheared off its outer layers, leaving its dense core as Metis. There is evidence to connect Metis with another rather smaller asteroid, Amalthea, which appears to represent another fragment of the same primordial body from which Metis formed.


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