October 5, 2022


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Electra has three moons - an amazing discovery

Electra has three moons – an amazing discovery

Detected using data obtained from Ambassador / IFS, a set of instruments on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). This instrument is used for direct imaging of exoplanets.

A serious obstacle to any ground-based telescope is the turbulent atmosphere of the Earth. The light collected by the VLT main mirror passes first adaptive optics system (AO), which constantly monitors fluctuations in the observed body light due to atmospheric distortions. Then, thousands of actuators correct the distorted mirror in real time to compensate for distortion more than a thousand times per second. Thanks to this, we can get a much clearer picture than would otherwise be possible, because atmospheric distortions are partially eliminated – a ground-based telescope is basically like a telescope in space. Then the light goes to IFSThat slices them through a lens focusing system from individual locations before they are further broken down into the spectrum.

In 2019, Dr. Berdeu developed a new algorithm for data processing from SPHERE/IFS using a technology called Projection, interpolation, and interpolation (PIC). Berdeu tested it on images of Jupiter’s moons from the 2014 VLT public data archive. In the images, Berdeu also observed a main belt asteroid – (130) Electra. So Berdeu decided to test his new algorithm by observing (130) Electra.

Dr. Purdue confirmed the existence of two asteroid moons that were discovered in 2014. It was interesting that he suggested The possibility of a third moon as well. The breakthrough in this matter had to wait until 2021. Dr. Purdue developed an algorithm to reduce the corona light from the main asteroid, which clearly revealed the three Electra moons (130). Thus, it was confirmed as the first in history Quad asteroid system.

Currently, there is no naming method for asteroid moons – which is why the newly discovered object is given Ref S / 2014 (130) 2. It is located 344 km from the asteroid and will orbit around it every 16.3 hours.

This discovery opens a new window of possibilities for uncovering other bodies. If Berdeu does not use his algorithm to analyze the data (130) Elektra, To this day, we will not know about the third moon. It is unknown how many other items are still waiting among the piles of archival data collected by tools like SPHERE.

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