Search for asteroidal satellites using adaptive optics

Laird Close, Bill J. Merline, Christophe Dumas, Clark Chapman, Francois Roddier, Francois Menard, D. C. Slater, Gilles Duvert, Chris Shelton, Tom Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We utilized AO to discover a moon around asteroid 45 Eugenia by use of the PUEO AO facility at CFHT. With PUEO we performed a search for asteroidal satellites among two dozen asteroids, achieving moderate Strehl ratios (35%) and FWHM of about 0.12 inch at H band. During this survey, we detected a faint close companion to 45 Eugenia. The satellite was 6.14 magnitudes (at 1.65 μm) fainter and located at most 0.75 inch from Eugenia. Without the ability of AO to sharpen the contrast and increase the resolution to 0.1 inch, the detection of this companion would have been impossible with ground-based telescopes. The companion was found to be in a 1200 km circular orbit with a period of 4.7 days. We discovered that the bulk density of the large (215 km) asteroid 45 Eugenia is a surprisingly low 1.2 g/cm3. This has lead to the exciting possibilities that either this main belt asteroid is a burned out comet or has a hollow `rubble-pile' structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)II/-
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2000
EventAdaptive Optical Systems Technology - Munich, Ger
Duration: Mar 29 2000Mar 31 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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