45 Eugenia (pronounced /juːˈdʒiːniə/ ew-JEE-nee-ə) is a large Main belt asteroid. It is famed as one of the first asteroids to be found to have a moon orbiting it. It is also the second known triple asteroid, after 87 Sylvia.
Eugenia was discovered in 1857 by Hermann Goldschmidt. It was named after Empress Eugenia di Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, and was the first asteroid to be named after a real person, rather than a figure from classical legend (although there had been controversy about whether 12 Victoria was really named for the mythological figure or for Queen Victoria).
Eugenia is a large asteroid, with a diameter of 214 km. It is an F-type asteroid, which means that it is very dark in colouring (darker than soot) with a carbonaceous composition. Like Mathilde, its density appears to be unusually low, indicating that it may be a loosely-packed rubble pile, not a monolithic object. Eugenia appears to be almost anhydrous.
Lightcurve analysis indicates that Eugenia's pole most likely points towards ecliptic coordinates (β, λ) = (-30°, 124°) with a 10° uncertainty, which gives it an axial tilt of 117°. Eugenia's rotation is then retrograde.
In November 1998, astronomers at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, discovered a small moon orbiting Eugenia. This was the first time an asteroidal moon had been discovered by a ground-based telescope. Eugenia's moon has been named (45) Eugenia I Petit-Prince, after Empress Eugenia's son, the Prince Imperial. The moon is much smaller than Eugenia, about 13 km in diameter, and takes five days to complete an orbit around it.
S/2004 (45) 1
A second, smaller (estimated diameter of 6 km) satellite that orbits closer to Eugenia than Petit-Prince has since been discovered and provisionally named S/2004 (45) 1. It was discovered by analyses of three images acquired in February 2004 from the 8.2 m VLT "Yepun" at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Cerro Paranal, in Chile. The discovery was announced in IAUC 8817, on 7 March 2007 by Franck Marchis and his IMCCE collaborators.
Dactyl and Ida - Another asteroid and asteroid moon system catalogued by astronomers
1. ^ Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets, Minor Planet Centre
* Johnston Archive data
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