An important discovery was made by the Lucy mission of the POT on March 27, 2022, and which has been reported on August 16 by the US Space Agency. It is the presence of a moon for the asteroid Polymele.
On that day, Polymele was expected to pass in front of a star, allowing the team to watch the star flicker as the asteroid briefly blocked, or obscured, it.
Marc Buie, Lucy occultation lead scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, which is based in San Antonio, commented: “Those two observers detected an object about 200 km (about 124 miles) from Polymele. It had to be a satellite.
Using the occultation data, the team assessed that this satellite is about 3 miles (5 km) in diameter, orbiting Polymele, which itself is about 17 miles (27 km) along its widest axis. The observed distance between the two bodies was approximately 125 miles (200 km). Following planetary naming conventions, the satellite will not receive an official name until the team can determine its orbit.
At the time of the observation, Polymele was 480 million miles (770 million km) from Earth.