M. Belton, Solid State Imaging (SSI) Science Team Leader for the Galileo project; and R. Carlson, Principal Investigator, Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS), report that a small object has been found in the close vicinity of (243) Ida. The object was detected in samples of SSI and NIMS data taken during Galileo's flyby of Ida in Aug. 1993 and returned to the earth during 1994 Feb. 15-16. The detections were in data acquired on 1993 Aug. 29.693 and 29.697 UT (at the spacecraft), respectively. At the time, the spacecraft was 537.9 * 10**6 km (3.596 AU) from the earth and 10 760 km from Ida. Seen in independent samples of NIMS and SSI data, the suspected satellite appears to have been roughly 100 km from Ida and about 10 to 20 times smaller. Further information, including approximate orbital characteristics, resolved images of the object, color and near infrared spectra, will be returned from the spacecraft over the next few months.
International Astronomical Union Circular
- Pub Date:
- March 1994