Discovery of the triple asteroidal system 87 Sylvia

  title={Discovery of the triple asteroidal system 87 Sylvia},
  author={Franck Marchis and Pascal Descamps and Daniel Hestroffer and J{\'e}r{\^o}me Berthier},
After decades of speculation, the existence of binary asteroids has been observationally confirmed, with examples in all minor planet populations. However, no triple systems have hitherto been discovered. Here we report the unambiguous detection of a triple asteroidal system in the main belt, composed of a 280-km primary (87 Sylvia) and two small moonlets orbiting at 710 and 1,360 km. We estimate their orbital elements and use them to refine the shape of the primary body. Both orbits are… 
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