Shape model of Balam from its lightcurve
|Discovered by||E. Bowell|
|Discovery site||Anderson Mesa Stn.|
|Discovery date||24 January 1982|
| David Balam |
|1982 BG1 ·1954 XM|
1962 ED ·1974 YO
|main-belt · Flora|
|Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)|
|Uncertainty parameter 0|
|Observation arc||61.66 yr (22,521 days)|
|3.35 yr (1,222 days)|
|0° 17m 40.56s / day|
|Known satellites||2 (⌀: 1.66 km; 1.84 km)|
|4.1±0.5 km (primary) |
3749 Balam // is a stony Flora asteroid and rare trinary system orbiting in the inner regions of asteroid belt. It also forms a secured asteroid pair with sub-kilometer sized asteroid (312497) 2009 BR60 . Balam was discovered on 24 January 1982, by American astronomer Edward Bowell at Lowell's Anderson Mesa Station near Flagstaff, Arizona, and received the prov. designation 1982 BG1. It was named after Canadian astronomer David Balam. Balam measures approximately 4.1 kilometers (2.5 miles) in diameter. Its two minor-planet moons have an estimated diameter of 1.66 and 1.84 kilometers, respectively.
Balam is a member of the Flora family, a very large group of stony asteroids in the inner main-belt. It orbits the Sun in the inner main-belt at a distance of 2.0–2.5 AU once every 3 years and 4 months (1,222 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.11 and an inclination of 5° with respect to the ecliptic.
It is named after the Canadian astronomer David Balam, principal observer at Victoria's Climenhaga Observatory in British Columbia. M.P.C. 13178).The approved naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 31 May 1988 (
The S-type asteroid has an albedo of 0.16.The body's rotation around its axis has been measured several times by different lightcurve observations with a concurring period of 2.8 hours.
On 13 February 2002, the discovery of a minor-planet moon, provisionally designated S/2002 (3749) 1, was announced by a team of researchers from SwRI, UA, JPL and OSUG, using the Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It has an estimated diameter of 1.84 kilometers. It orbits 289±13 km away in 61±10 days, with a high orbital eccentricity of ~ 0.9. The distant and highly eccentric orbit of S/2002 (3749) 1 suggests that it was likely captured by Balam.
Being such a small primary body in the inner main belt with a separation of over 100 primary radii, S/2002 (3749) 1 is the most loosely bound binary known.Balam has a Hill sphere with a radius of about 1,500 kilometers.
In March 2008, Franck Marchis discovered another companion, provisionally designated S/2008 (3749) 1, making Balam a trinary asteroid. The inner satellite has a derived diameter of 1.66 kilometer, based on diameter-ratio of 0.42±0.03 with its primary.
Other known trinary asteroids include 45 Eugenia, 87 Sylvia, 93 Minerva, 107 Camilla, 130 Elektra and 216 Kleopatra.
Balam also forms an asteroid pair with (312497) 2009 BR60 . Asteroid pairs are on highly similar heliocentric orbits. At some point in the past, the pair of asteroids became gravitationally unbound due to rotational fission induced by the YORP-effect or from a collisional breakup of the parent body. After the discovery of Balam's two satellites by Bill Merline (inner moon) and Franck Marchis (outer moon) in 2002 and 2008, respectively, Czech physicist David Vokrouhlický identified the unbound secondary in 2009. Based on backward orbit integrations, it is thought that Balam and 2009 BR60 form a secured asteroid pair that became separated approximately 400,000 years ago.
A minor-planet moon is an astronomical object that orbits a minor planet as its natural satellite. As of October 2020, there are 416 minor planets known or suspected to have moons. Discoveries of minor-planet moons are important because the determination of their orbits provides estimates on the mass and density of the primary, allowing insights of their physical properties that is generally not otherwise possible.
216 Kleopatra is a metallic, ham-bone-shaped asteroid and trinary system orbiting in the central region of the asteroid belt, approximately 138 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 10 April 1880, by Austrian astronomer Johann Palisa at the Austrian Naval Pola Observatory, in what is now Pula, Croatia. The M-type asteroid has a shorter than average rotation period of 5.4 hours. It was named after Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen. Two small minor-planet moons were discovered in 2008, and later named Alexhelios and Cleoselene.
1509 Esclangona, provisional designation 1938 YG, is a rare-type Hungaria asteroid and binary system from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 8 kilometers in diameter. It is named after French astronomer Ernest Esclangon.
Camilla is one of the largest asteroids from the outermost edge of the asteroid belt, approximately 220 kilometers. It is a member of the Sylvia family and located within the Cybele group. It was discovered on 17 November 1868, by English astronomer Norman Pogson at Madras Observatory, India, and named after Camilla, Queen of the Volsci in Roman mythology. The X-type asteroid is a rare trinary asteroid with two minor-planet moons discovered in 2001 and 2016, respectively. It is elongated in shape and has a short rotation period of 4.8 hours.
1089 Tama, provisional designation 1927 WB, is an elongated Florian asteroid and synchronous binary system from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 12 kilometers in diameter.
9617 Grahamchapman, provisional designation 1993 FA5, is a binary Florian asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 2.8 kilometers in diameter.
2006 Polonskaya, provisional designation 1973 SB3, is a stony Florian asteroid and asynchronous binary system from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 22 September 1973, by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Nauchnij, on the Crimean peninsula, and later named after Russian astronomer Elena Polonskaya.
4492 Debussy is a dark and elongated background asteroid and binary system from the intermediate asteroid belt, approximately 15 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 17 September 1988, by Belgian astronomer Eric Elst at Haute-Provence Observatory in France. It was later named after French composer Claude Debussy.
3782 Celle, provisional designation 1986 TE, is a bright Vestian asteroid and asynchronous binary system from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 6.5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 3 October 1986, by Danish astronomer Poul Jensen at the Brorfelde Observatory in Denmark and named after the German city of Celle. The V-type asteroid has a rotation period of 3.84 hours. The discovery of its 2.3-kilometer minor-planet moon was announced in 2003.
4674 Pauling, provisional designation 1989 JC, is a spheroidal binary Hungaria asteroid from the innermost regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 4.5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at the U.S Palomar Observatory, California, on 2 May 1989, and named after American chemist and Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling.
6084 Bascom, provisional designation 1985 CT, is a binary Phocaea asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 6.3 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 12 February 1985, by American astronomer couple Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker at Palomar Observatory in California. It is named after American geologist Florence Bascom. Its satellite measures approximately 2.3 kilometers and has an orbital period of 43.51 hours.
4029 Bridges, provisional designation 1982 KC1, is a stony asteroid and binary system from the middle regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 8 kilometers in diameter.
1338 Duponta, provisional designation 1934 XA, is a stony Florian asteroid and synchronous binary system from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 7.8 kilometers in diameter.
1722 Goffin, provisional designation 1938 EG, is a stony asteroid from the central region of the asteroid belt, approximately 10.3 kilometers in diameter.
5905 Johnson, provisional designation 1989 CJ1, is a Hungaria asteroid and synchronous binary system from the innermost regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in diameter. It was discovered on 11 February 1989, by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory in California, United States. Its satellite measures approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) in diameter and orbits its primary every 21.8 hours. It was named after American astronomer and engineer Lindley N. Johnson.
5080 Oja, provisional designation 1976 EB, is a stony Florian asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 8 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered on 2 March 1976, by astronomer Claes-Ingvar Lagerkvist at the Kvistaberg Station of the Uppsala Observatory in Sweden. In 1992, it was named after Estonian–Swedish astronomer Tarmo Oja. The S-type asteroid has a rotation period of 7.222 hours.
1979 Sakharov, provisionally designated 2006 P-L, is a stony Vestian asteroid from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 4.5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered during the Palomar–Leiden survey in 1960, and named after Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov.
11066 Sigurd, provisional designation 1992 CC1, is a stony, rare-type asteroid and elongated contact binary, classified as near-Earth object of the Apollo group of asteroids, approximately 2.5 kilometers in diameter.
3982 Kastel', provisional designation 1984 JP1, is a Florian asteroid and a suspected binary system from the inner regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 6.9 kilometers in diameter.
5477 Holmes, provisional designation 1989 UH2, is a Hungaria asteroid and binary system from the innermost regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 3 kilometers (2 miles) in diameter. It was discovered on 27 October 1989, by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at the Palomar Observatory in California. The presumed E-type asteroid is likely spherical in shape and has a short rotation period of 2.99 hours. It was named for American amateur astronomer Robert Holmes. The discovery of its 1-kilometer-sized minor-planet moon was announced in November 2005.