Collaboration of many professional and amteur astronomers revealed a 3-D shape of an asteroid

Author:Isao Satō
Asteroids are very small celestial bodies and invisible with naked eyes
beyond seveal hundreds million kilometers from the earth between the orbits
of Mars and Jupiter.
So it is difficult to study its size, shape, composition and other properties.But occasionally, an asteroid passes in front of a star on the way in the sky.On that time, the star is disappeared for several seconds hidden by the astero id.

That is a phenomenon called a stellar occultation by asteroid.
About 60 years ago, English astronomer Gordon Taylor proposed to observe
stellar occultations by asteroids to measure the size and shape of the asteroi
ds in detail.In Isao Sato’s research review, of the Japan Astronomical Society,
published in the International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
by the Scientific Research Publishing 2014 Vol.4, a stellar occultation of 7th
magnitude star by the asteroid (704) Interamnia (pronounced “in-te-ram-nia”)
was seen from Japan and Hawaii on 23 March 2003.
About 60 professional and amateur astronomers observed the event from differen
t locations.
The star was disappeared for 70 seconds at longest.
As the result, a silouhette of the asteroid whose size of 350km times 304km wa
s revealed
by many occultation chords. Also, a new companion of the occulted star was di
scovered.After the occultation, A Japanese amateur astronomer Hiromi Hamanowa observed
lightcurves of the asteroid for 8 years (2003-2011), it is evealed the rotatio
n period to be 8 hour 43 min 44.281 sec in very accurately.
Isao Sato analyzed these observation results with advanced math, a 3-D model s
hape of the asteroid is revealed.
The size of ellipsoid model 362km times 324km times 297km, the sense of rotati
on is retrograde.The result is the first final goal Gordon Taylor had dreamed,
accomplished by the collaboration of many professional and amateur astronomers
of Japan and USA.


Journal: International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
DOI: 10.4236/ijaa.2014.41010

Paper Id: 43533 (metadata)

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