3 moon asteroid | Science Press Agency

If there is one, then there must be others. Already speculated by astronomers. After all, the asteroid in question, electra, or “(130) Electra”, has been known since 1873, and the first moon was not discovered until 2003, then the second in 2014. With an elongated shape, it is 260 km long. That makes it one of a million asteroids known – and they orbit the sun every five years, in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter.

Discovery made using VLT (very large telescope) from Chile, was announced in november On the astronomy forums, and it was official published On February 8 by astrophysicists Anthony Purdue of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, Maud Langloa of the Lyon Center for Astrophysics and Frederic Vasher of the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation (Sorbonne). The new baby turns around his older sister in 16 hours, at a distance of about 360 km. It was possible that the three moons were actually fragments of their elder sister, separated after colliding with another celestial body.

Define now About 150 asteroids are accompanied by a moon. Including less than 10 who have two. But it looks like the list will grow and cause a headache for astronomers trying to calculate the future behavior of such small and possibly unstable groups.

Image: Two images of the asteroid Electra and two of its moons. / Andrew Yang / ESO

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About the Author: Irene Alves

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