Triple Asteroid System Triples Asteroid Observers Interest
Click on the image for the animation
These Goldstone radar images show triple asteroid 1994 CC, which consists of a central object approximately 700 meters (2,300 feet) in diameter and two smaller moons, each about 50 meters (164 feet) in diameter, that orbit the central body.
The two images, obtained on June 12, 2009, show how the positions of the two small moons changed during the 77 minutes that elapsed between images. The images have a resolution of 19 meters/pixel.
In the accompanying animation, the counterclockwise rotation by the main body is evident as well as the relative motion of its two satellites. Preliminary analysis of the images suggests that the main body has a rounded, possibly spheroidal shape.
The radar team collaborators on the project are Chris Magri, University of Maine at Farmington; Ellen S. Howell and Patrick A. Taylor, Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico; Jon D. Giorgini, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Jean-Luc Margot, University of California Los Angeles; Michael W. Busch,Caltech; Michael K. Shepard, Bloomsburg University, Pa. and Lynn M. Carter, Smithsonian Institution, Washington.