August 10, 2005
University of California - Berkeley
Using the Very Large Telescope in Chile, UC Berkeley and Paris Observatory astronomers have obtained images of the first triple asteroid system: two moonlets orbiting one of the largest of the main-belt asteroids, Sylvia. A detailed chart of their orbits yields a density for Sylvia, indicating it is a "rubble pile" asteroid probably disrupted by impact long ago and gravitationally re-accreted - except for the two large moons.
Artist's conception shows twin moonlets, Romulus and Remus, orbiting the large main-belt asteroid 87 Sylvia.
Credit: Image courtesy European Southern Observatory
Berkeley -- One of the thousands of asteroids orbiting the sun has been found to have a mini planetary system of its own.
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University of California - Berkeley. "First Triple Asteroid System Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050810135320.htm>.
University of California - Berkeley. (2005, August 10). First Triple Asteroid System Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 12, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050810135320.htm
University of California - Berkeley. "First Triple Asteroid System Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050810135320.htm (accessed March 12, 2014).