Asteroid 5143, Heracles, was discovered on November 7, 1991 by Carolyn S. Shoemaker, Eugene M. Shoemaker and David H. Levy at Palomar Observatory near Pauma Valley, California. It has a period of 2 years, 175 days.

Heracles was named for the Greek god of strength, a son of Zeus and Alkmene, a mortal princess of Thebes who is better known as Hercules. Persecuted by Hera throughout his life for being Zeus' illegitimate offspring and endangered at times by his arrogance and ungovernable passions, Hercules performed numerous astonishing feats of physical strength, like his epic Twelve Labors, which he did to expiate the murder of his wife Megara and his children in a fit of madness brought on by Hera. He shot the centaur Nessus for molesting his second wife Deianira and Nessus, as he lay dying, told Deianira that a shirt dipped in his blood would restore Hercules' faithfulness should he ever stray from his vows. When he did, Deianira sent him the shirt, which stuck to his flesh and caused him to immolate himself on a pyre to escape his agony, after which he ascended to Olympus and was made a god.

Hercules In The Garden Of The Hesperides, by Italian painter Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (1675-1741)

Astrologically, Heracles has to do with contending or struggling with something, damaged or destroyed by one's own strength, passion barely in or out of control, prodigious feats, exaltation after death..

Muhammad Ali has Heracles in the eighth house, semisextile Nessus (predatory), quintile Pallas (politics), sesquiquadrate Juno (the disadvantaged), and opposite Neptune (idealism, spirituality, paralytic diseases).

Edmund Hillary, the first human (along with Tenzing Norgay) to climb to the summit of Mount Everest and then come back safely, has Heracles semisextile Nessus and Talos, undecimal Chiron, quintile Pallas, square Neptune and Damocles, tredecile Saturn, trine Venus, and quincunx Pholus. His and Norgay's conquest of Everest, once thought impossible to climb, was the first in a series by people from all over the world which devolved into just another form of exotic vacation for those with the ability to pay, which some serious mountaineers have bemoaned.

Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, who made an epic journey across polar ice to civilization with his comrades after his ship was caught in the ice, had Heracles conjunct Vesta, parallel Mars and Ceres, and contraparallel Jupiter.

American soldier Lori Piestewa (born December 14, 1979), the first Native American female soldier to be killed in combat in the history of the US military, was an impoverished single mother who joined the Army off a remote reservation in northern Arizona. She had Heracles sextile Hidalgo and Ixion, quincunx Varuna and parallel the Sun.

Iranian weightlifting champion Hossain Rezazadeh (born May 12, 1978 in Ardabil, Iran) has Heracles conjunct the South Node, square Jupiter, tredecile Neptune, parallel Mercury and contraparallel Ixion.

Greek weightlifter and three-time Olympic gold medalist Pyrros Dimas (born October 13, 1971, in Himare, Albania), a national hero who tried and failed to win a fourth gold medal for his country in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, has Heracles conjunct Chaos, sextile Nessus, opposite Mercury, parallel Ceres, and contraparallel Talos.

American female weightlifter Cheryl Haworth (born April 18, 1983 in Savannah, Georgia), who won a bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney at the age of 17, has Heracles square Neptune, tredecile Jupiter, trine Nessus and quincunx Pluto.

Mike Tyson, considered an example of immense talent frittered away by poor guidance and lack of discipline, has Heracles semisextile Chiron (an object lesson) and Varuna (hugeness, judgment) and decile Ceres (nurture).

George Herman (Babe) Ruth (born February 6, 1895 in Baltimore) had Heracles decile Mercury and Mars, sextile Neptune and Varuna, square Hylonome and trine Pallas.

Thomas Junta, a Massachusetts truck driver who went to prison for beating another man to death in front of their young sons in a dispute over a youth hockey game, has Heracles conjunct Pholus and Talos, sextile Vesta (commitment), square Neptune (baffled,and parallel Phaethon (lurching out of control).

Steve Biko (born December 18, 1946, in King William's Town, East Cape, South Africa), an anti-apartheid activist murdered in police custody, had Heracles conjunct Vesta, semisextile Hylonome, square the Sun, Asbolus and Elatus and sesquiquadrate Pluto.

Nelson Mandela, who rose to even greater heights through his resolute battle against South African apartheid, has Heracles in the fourth house, conjunct Chiron, decile Uranus, quintile Juno, square Jupiter, trine Pallas and parallel Talos.

Christopher Reeve had Heracles in the fifth house, conjunct Chiron and the Vertex, square Pandora and Dioretsa, trine Varuna, sesquiquadrate Pluto, parallel Lilith and contraparallel Uranus. One of several men who have played Superman in the movies, Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down in a riding accident and spent his last years fighting to recover and battling misguided politicians and religious leaders for stem-cell research.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who was given the responsibility of rebuilding his country, which has been ravaged by decades of war and misrule, has Heracles conjunct Talos, semisquare the Sun, sextile Saturn, quincunx Asbolus and parallel Dioretsa.

Gloria Steinem has Heracles in the fifth house, conjunct Mars and Varuna, semisextile Mercury, Ceres, Phaethon and Cruithne, trine the Moon and parallel Nessus. She has spent much of her adult life fighting for gender equality and, ironically, may be remembered mainly for public statements made when she was young rejecting men.

Mahatma Gandhi adapted Henry David Thoreau's ideas of civil disobedience to Hindu belief and successfully used them in the struggle for Indian independence from Britain (and, with less success, to reform Indian society). Gandhi had Heracles decile Jupiter, sextile Phaethon, square Ixion, trine Saturn and Vesta, and opposite Nessus.

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