A dog bone in space


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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 06:07 AM – Detailed images of a dog bone-shaped asteroid have been released by the European Southern Observatory. This celestial body, in addition to its unusual form, has two moons.

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Unusual object

The European Southern Observatory provided very detailed images of an asteroid named Cleopatra. This large object, 270 kilometers long, is unique in that it has the shape of a dog bone.

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Two moons

In 2008, scientists discovered that the object had two moons. Its natural satellites were named three years later: AlexHélios and CleoSelene. The celestial body orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, in the asteroid belt. Cleopatra, a less dense object than previously estimated, is believed to be mostly made of porous metals.

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Strong rotation

According to scientists, the presence of the two moons could be explained by the ejection of materials from the asteroid which is subjected to a relatively rapid rotation. Cleopatra rotates every 5.3 hours. This image shows its movement for a period of approximately six hours. It was taken between 2017 and 2019. Thus, the mass and density of the object suggest that it would be near a breaking point due to the centrifugal force that is exerted against it.

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Source: ESO


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