[meteorite-list] Hubble Finds New Asteroid Moon

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:44:41 2004
Message-ID: <200103211623.IAA28918_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Hubble Finds New Asteroid Moon
by Mark Perew

Los Angeles - March 21, 2001
Asteroid (107) Camilla has joined the ranks of asteroids boasting a small
moon. Astronomers from Towson University in Maryland found the satellite in
five images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope earlier this month.

While it is too early to have precise mass and orbit data, the images do
show that the new moon, provisionally dubbed S/2001 (107) 1, is probably of
the same type as its primary. The images also imply a size ratio of 1:25.

"These images were taken by a snapshot program filling up available time on
HST," reported Professor Alex Storrs. "This is part of a campaign to study
main belt objects for companions and surface variegations. These
observations are complementary with, not in competition to, ground based

While the ground based observations using the Keck adaptive optics system,
for example, are excellent in the infrared, Hubble uses visible light. Both
systems, Prof. Storrs stressed, reveal useful data about the objects being

Of the asteroids found to have large satellites, all appear to be
"primitive" types. To Prof. Storr, this implies that they are unadulterated
both physically and dynamically.

"They can't have had large impacts or close passes," he explained. "They
are, I'd venture to say, pristine."

"This is an interesting time to be studying asteroids." Professor Storr
stated. For so many years we've struggled with the limits of resolution [of
ground based telescopes]. Now with adaptive optics, HST and Doppler radar
the field has become interesting all over again."

Additional HST images will be taken next week. To date only 10% of the
roughly 50 objects have been imaged in this observing campaign.

Mark Perew is a freelance science writer, a member of the National
Association of Science Writers and a JPL Solar System Ambassador. He is also
creating the ScienceMakers website.
Received on Wed 21 Mar 2001 11:23:41 AM PST

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