NASA’s Lucy team discovers a satellite around the asteroid Polymela

(ORDO NEWS) — On March 27, a team of scientists from the Lucy mission discovered that the Trojan asteroid Polymel has its own satellite.

“14 teams reported observing the star as it passed behind the asteroid, but when we analyzed the data, we saw that two of the observations were different from the rest,” said Mark Bui of the Southwestern Research Institute. “They found an object 200 km from Polimel. It must be a satellite.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that this satellite has a diameter of about 5 km, and revolves around Polymelus, which is about 27 km long on its widest axis.

The observed distance between the two bodies was about 200 km. The satellite will not receive an official name until scientists determine its orbit.

Because the moon is too close to Polymelus, it cannot be clearly seen with telescopes, so scientists will be able to calculate its orbit either on the next eclipse or when Lucy approaches the asteroid in 2027.

At the time of observation, Polymelus was at a distance of 770 million km from Earth.

The study of asteroids is very important for studying the history of the solar system, which is a priority for NASA.

The Lucy team originally planned to visit one main belt asteroid and six Trojan asteroids that follow Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun.

In January 2021, a team using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered that one of the Trojan asteroids, Eurybat, has a small moon.

It is planned that the device will visit nine asteroids, including Polimela, during a 12-year flight.


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