Tucapel is a member of the Flora family, one of the largest groups of stony asteroids. It orbits the Sun in the inner main-belt at a distance of 1.8–2.8 AU once every 3 years and 6 months (1,265 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.23 and an inclination of 8° with respect to the ecliptic.
In October 2009, a rotational lightcurve of Tucapel was obtained from photometric observations at the Oakley Southern Sky Observatory (E09) in Australia. Lightcurve analysis gave a well-defined rotation period of 9.028 hours with a brightness variation of 0.34 magnitude (U=3).
Diameter and albedo
According to the surveys carried out by the Japanese Akari satellite and NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer with its subsequent NEOWISE mission, Tucapel measures between 10.61 and 12.685 kilometers in diameter and its surface has an albedo between 0.1003 and 0.328. The Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link assumes an albedo of 0.24 — derived from 8 Flora, the family's largest member and namesake – and calculates a diameter of 11.84 kilometers with an absolute magnitude of 11.8.
This minor planet was named for one of the brave chiefs of the Mapuche, indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, who, with his wife Gualeva, victoriously entered the city of Imperial. He died in 1560, fighting against the colonial Spaniards (also see Arauco War, Battle of Tucapel and Lautaro). The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 1 June 1980 (M.P.C. 5359).