90 Antiope

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90 Antiope
90 Antiope.gif
Adaptive-optics image of Antiope
Discovered by Robert Luther
Discovery dateOctober 1, 1866
(90) Antiope
Pronunciation /ænˈtəp/ [1]
1952 BK2 [2]
Main belt [2]
(Themis family)
Adjectives Antiopean
Orbital characteristics [2]
Epoch July 23, 2010
(JD 2455400.5)
Aphelion 545.94 Gm
3.6494 AU
Perihelion 398.02 Gm
2.6606 AU
471.19 Gm
3.1550 AU
Eccentricity 0.15670
2046.9 d (5.60 yr)
Average orbital speed
16.66 km/s
Inclination 2.2195°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions93.0×87.0×83.6 km [3]
87.8 ± 1.0 km [3]
Mass 8.3×1017 kg
(whole system) [4]
~ 4.1−4.2 ×1017 kg (components)
Mean density
1.25 ± 0.05 g/cm3 (each) [5]
0.687 d (16.50 h) [6] (synchronous)
0.060 [7]
C [8]
8.27 (together) [2]
9.02 (each component)
    S/2000 (90) 1
    The Antiope Doublet - Eso0718b.png
    Discovery [9]
    Discovered by W. J. Merline, L. M. Close,
    J. C. Shelton, C. Dumas,
    F. Menard, C. R. Chapman,
    and D. C. Slater
    Discovery dateAugust 10, 2000 [10]
    Main belt (Themis family)
    Orbital characteristics [4]
    171 ± 1 km
    Eccentricity <0.006
    0.687713 ± 0.00004 d (16.5051 ± 0.0001 h)
    Average orbital speed
    18.0 m/s
    Satellite of Binary with 90 Antiope
    Physical characteristics
    Dimensions89.4×82.8×79.6 km [3]
    Mean diameter
    83.8 ± 1.0 km [3]
    Mass ~ 8.1−8.5 ×1017 kg [5]
    Equatorial escape velocity
    variable; ~ 35−40 m/s
    0.687 d (16.50 h) [6] (synchronous)

      Antiope (minor planet designation: 90 Antiope) is a double asteroid in the outer asteroid belt. It was discovered on October 1, 1866, by Robert Luther. In 2000, it was found to consist of two almost-equally-sized bodies orbiting each other. At average diameters of about 88 km and 84 km, both components are among the 500 largest asteroids. Antiope is a member of the Themis family of asteroids that share similar orbital elements. [11]



      The asteroid's proper name comes from Greek mythology, but it is disputed whether this is Antiope the Amazon or Antiope the mother of Amphion and Zethus.

      Since the discovery of Antiope's binary nature, the name "Antiope" technically refers to the slightly larger of the two components, with the smaller component bearing the provisional designation S/2000 (90) 1. However, the name "Antiope" is also used to refer to the binary system as a whole.


      The most remarkable feature of Antiope is that it consists of two components of almost equal size (the difference in mass is less than 2.5% [12] ), making it a truly "double" asteroid. Its binary nature was discovered on 10 August 2000 by a group of astronomers using adaptive optics at the Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea. [9] Before this, IRAS observations had suggested that the asteroid was 120 km in diameter. [2]


      Antiope orbits in the outer third of the core region of the asteroid belt, and is a member of the Themis family. [13]

      Since each component is about 86±1 km across, with their centers separated by only about 171 kilometers, [4] the gap separating the two halves is about the same as the diameter of each component. As a result, the two bodies orbit around the common center of mass which lies in the space between them. The orbital period is approximately 16.50 hours, and the eccentricity below 0.006. [4] Every several years, a period of mutual occultations occurs when the asteroid is viewed from Earth. [6] Using Kepler's third law, the mass and density of the components can be derived from the orbital period and component sizes.

      The axis of the mutual orbit of the two components points towards ecliptic coordinates (β, λ) = (200°, 38°) [5] with 2 degrees uncertainty. [5] This is tilted about 63° to the circumsolar orbit of the system.


      Antiope itself has an average diameter of about 88 km, while its twin, S/2000 (90) 1, has an average diameter of 84 km. Like most bodies in this region, the components of the Antiope system are of the dark C spectral type, indicating a carbonaceous composition. The low density (1.3±0.2 g/cm3) of its components (see below) suggests a significant porosity (>30%), indicating rubble-pile asteroids composed of debris that accumulated in the aftermath of a previous asteroid collision, possibly the one that formed the Themis family.[ citation needed ]

      Complementary observations using adaptive optic observations on 8–10 m class telescopes and mutual events photometric lightcurve over several months have served as input quantities for a derivation of a whole set of other physical parameters (shapes of the components, surface scattering, bulk density, and internal properties). The shape model is consistent with slightly non-spherical components, having a size ratio of 0.95 (with an average radius of 42.9 km), and exhibiting equilibrium figures for homogeneous rotating bodies. A comparison with grazing occultation event lightcurves taken in 2003 suggests that the real shape of the components do not depart much from Roche equilibrium figures (by more than 10%).[ citation needed ]

      Observations from the VLT-UT4 telescope equipped with an adaptive optics system in 2007 and lightcurve data analysis suggest that one of the components appears to have a 68 km bowl-shaped impact crater that may be the result of a violent collision of proto-Antiope into two equisized bodies. [14] The impactor is calculated to have been more than 17 km in diameter. [15] The crater can not be resolved using the W.M. Keck II telescope.

      The two parts of the Antiope have very similar spectra. This implies they may have a common origin, such as being formed from the breakup of a larger rubble-pile asteroid, but other formation scenarios cannot be ruled out. [16]


      There have been 9 occultations observed since 1988, [17] many of which are multichord occultations.

      The best is the July 19, 2011 event observed from 57 stations spread out along the western USA coast where 46 stations recorded positive occultations and 11 stations observed misses. However many of the misses were important to clearly separate the two components of 90 Antiope. Alas, many planned stations were clouded. Many stations were so-called Mighty-Mini or Mighty-Maxi consisting of a binocular objective (homemade using binoculars + hacksaw + plumbing fittings) as well as a video camera and Video Time Inserter (VTI), and were pre-pointed and left to run unattended, thereby allowing one observer to deploy many stations.

      The crater mentioned above was confirmed by this occultation. [18] [19]

      90 Antiope occulted the star LQ Aquarii on July 19, 2011 in western USA. 46 stations observed a positive, 11 stations observed a miss and others were clouded out. Many stations were pre-pointed and left unattended. 90Antiope 20110719 (Multichord Occultation).jpg
      90 Antiope occulted the star LQ Aquarii on July 19, 2011 in western USA. 46 stations observed a positive, 11 stations observed a miss and others were clouded out. Many stations were pre-pointed and left unattended.
      The 2011 occultation as seen in this video from one of the stations lasted about 20 seconds.

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