Minor Planets: The Discovery of Minor Satellites

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4383, pp. 903-905
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4383.903


The recent confirmation of the discovery of a satellite of the minor planet 532 Herculina indicates that other similar anomalous sightings are probably also due to satellites, which must therefore be numerous and commonplace. There are now 23 candidate satellites for eight minor planets, and no one of these minor planets occulting a star has failed to show evidence of at least one secondary event. Such companions are gravitationally stable but apparently have rapid tidal evolution rates.