October 3, 2022

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He discovered an asteroid with three moons. The first quadrupole system in space

Credit: ESO/Berdeu et al. , Yang et al.

Analysis of the data obtained already in 2014 using a new technology made it possible to make an exciting discovery. L ‘Asteroid 130 ElectraFind out in the distance 1873and the The first “space stone” has three moons.

Asteroid 130 Electra Story

It was February 17, 1873 When the German astronomer Christian Heinrich Friedrich Peters discovered a huge asteroid (260 kmequal to the distance between Rome and Naples) located in the main belt, the belt between Mars and Jupiter.

named 130 electro To honor the daughter of the legendary hero Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the “Space Stone” has ended up in the sights of scholars several times. But only recently has it been possible to prove it Asteroid with other moons. The first moon was discovered in 2003, while in 2016 it was possible to prove the existence of another moon. The second discovery was made possible thanks to the analysis of data collected in 2014 by the tool sphere (High-contrast polarized spectroscopic exoplanet search facility REs), which was installed on very large telescope FromSouthern European Observatory (ESO).

This is the same data covered today and “clean“Thanks to the most accurate techniques, which have allowed scientists to find out There is also a third moon. This discovery makes the asteroid 130 Elektra il The first known quadrant system to date.

130 Electra, asteroid discovery

This amazing discovery was made by an international team of scientists led by scientists from The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand. Research also collaborated in Department of Physics, Chulalongkorn UniversityL’University of Lyon And theInstitute of Celestial Mechanics and Calculation of Ephemerides From the Paris Observatory, Sorbonne University. The team was coordinated by the professor Antonio Berdio from the Thai Institute.

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Thanks to only new technologies, the team was able to locate this last moon: a process that is not easy if we take into account the fact that they are relatively small objects, orbiting near very distant and poorly lit asteroids. It is not surprising that it is so much needed 130 years to locate The first moon 130 Electra.

130 Electra, the asteroid with three moons

With the latest discovery, 130 Electra became the first asteroid with three moons. there firstdiscover in 2006It orbits the space stone at a distance of 1300 km. Small in size, the moon is only 6 kilometers wide, and he was baptized S / 2003 (130) 1.

Ten years later, in 2016, it was discovered that the already discovered moon was not the only one orbiting 130 Electra. there second moonwhich was discovered thanks to data collected in 2014, has been renamed 2014 (130) 1. smaller than the first (diameter Second Moon 130 Electra only two kilometers away), and the asteroid’s greater proximity (in orbit at an average distance of 500 kilometers) made it particularly difficult to intercept.

The exciting discovery that there is one too third moon To orbit around 130 Elektra was possible, as already mentioned, only thanks to the new advanced technologies that made it possible to “refine” the data that had already led to the second discovery, eliminating background noise. there Third Moon 130 Elektra, S2014 (130) 2, is the youngest of the three. Its diameter is actually only 1.6 kilometres. It is also the closest moon to 130 Electra, which orbits at an average distance of only 340 kilometers from the asteroid.

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To report search detailsFirst observation of a quadruple asteroidWhich led to this exciting discovery for the specialized scientific journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.