Science enthusiasts and researchers are always on the lookout for asteroids, which are a special component of our solar system. The first-ever quadruple asteroid system has been identified in a study published under The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet research instrument catalysed the identification of the same. (SPHERE).
Three's a crowd? This Picture of the Week shows Elektra, an asteroid from the main asteroid belt. A third moon (blue orbit) was discovered orbiting the asteroid, making it the first known quadruple asteroid system.
📸 @ESO /Berdeu et al., Yang et al. pic.twitter.com/fpJ0f7fRYj
— ESO (@ESO) February 14, 2022
SPHERE, which is placed on the ESO’s very large telescope at Paranal, Chile, discovered that an asteroid named Elektra 130 has three moons. Elektra is also the first quadruple system to be detected as a result of this new detection. Elektra 130 has only two moonlets, the first of which was detected almost 130 years ago, while the second was identified only in 2014. Elektra’s three moons have been named S/2003 (130) 1, S/2014 (130) 1 and S/2014 (130) 2.
When was Elektra 130 first discovered?
Electra 130 is a major asteroid and quadruple system with three minor-planet moons in the outer main belt. It was discovered on 17 February 1873 by astronomer Christian Peters at Litchfield Observatory, New York, and named after Electra, an avenger in Greek mythology. Elektra consists of three naturally orbiting satellites placed relatively close to each other. Back in 1873, scientists had caught the trace of this special asteroid in the belt between Jupiter and Mars.