Three researchers at the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, Lyon University and Sorbonne University, respectively, first witnessed four asteroid systems (three moons orbiting asteroids).In their paper published in the journal Astronomy and astrophysicsAnthony Berdeu, Maud Langlois, and Frédéric Vachier explain how to find the third moon around the asteroid Electra and some of its features.
The asteroid Electra was first seen by astronomer Christian Peters in 1873. Since then, the outer mainbelt asteroid has been classified as a G type, about 260 kilometers in diameter, and is thought to have a Ceres-like composition. In 2003, researchers discovered that it had a companion. Month And in 2014 the second month was found. With this new effort, the third month was discovered and the system was given four times the designation. This is the first observation.
Researchers discovered the third moon after studying archived data from previous research activities on the Chilean ultra-large telescope. They focused on Electra and its satellites, analyzed the data, and passed it through a noise reduction software system. To make it even better, they also ran the data through an algorithm designed to remove light from the halos that surround objects such as Electra. The resulting data showed that there was a third moon orbiting the asteroid. This surprised the team as no one had ever seen.
The first month was named S / 2003 (130) 1 and was measured to be 6 km in diameter. It orbits Electra with an average distance of about 1,300 km. The second month, S / 2014 (130) 1, is known to be much smaller, only 2 km in diameter. Elliptical orbit Much closer to Electra. Currently, the third satellite is named S / 2014 (130) 2, which is smaller than the other two satellites. diameter Only 1.6 kg.this is Orbit It is more circular and closer to Electra than the second moon. In particular, its brightness is measured at 1 / 15,000th of an orbiting asteroid, showing how remarkable it is that researchers could see it.
Anthony Berdeu et al, the first observation of a quadruple asteroid, Astronomy and astrophysics (2022). DOI: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 202142623
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The first four asteroid systems were detected
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