The most-crowded asteroid has been found. The 130 Elekarta, discovered during the 19th century, happens to have three moons or satellite companions. With this discovery, the Elektra has become the first asteroid with the most number of moons.
According to the research paper by astronomers of the National Astronomical Research Insitute, Thailand, the asteroid has become the first quadruple system. The team was led by Anthony Berdeu. The paper added that through data reduction and algorithms modelling, limits of the instruments’ physics can be exceeded which leads to such detections. So far, 1,100,000 asteroids have been discovered and only 150 of them have one moon at least.
Elektra was discovered in 1873, situated between Mars and Jupiter. Its first moon, S/2003 (130) 1, was identified in 2003. Then in 2014 its second moon, S/2014 (130) 1, came into the picture. The newly discovered moon has been named S/2014 (130) 2.
It is said that the closer a moon is to the asteroid the harder it would be to be identified. S/2003 (130) 1 had a distance of six kilometres with Elektra, S/2014 (130) 1 was two kilometres away from the asteroid, while the latest discovery S/2014 (130) 2 has a distance of 1.6 kilometres from Elektra.