View Full Version : Discussion: Long-Lost Asteroid Re-Discovered

2003-Oct-22, 04:21 PM
SUMMARY: Astronomers from the Lowell Observatory have re-discovered a Near Earth Asteroid that hasn't been seen since 1937. The object is called Hermes and it was originally discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth; a few days later it was out of sight, and astronomers didn't have enough information about its orbit to locate it again. With the new observations, astronomers believe that Hermes is actually a binary object; it has its own small moon.

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Oct-23, 10:55 AM
How do they know it was the same asteroid exactly? Does it have a bright neon flashing sign saying "Hermes"????

2003-Oct-28, 11:23 PM
No, Josh, I think they measured orbital elements of that asteroid and compared them with old ones and found them to be identical to those calculated for Hermes then. That's the usual way to reidentify lost Asteroids, Saturn moons, comets and that kind of stuff. :)

2003-Oct-29, 02:03 AM
But if the asteroid was only seen for a few days in 1937 - well before the satellite tracking systems we rely upon now were in use - how could they be sure it's the same one? I'm sure there are any number of asteroids with similar orbits and size.

2003-Oct-29, 09:22 AM
Josh they could trak the asteroid (these days), work out its orbital trajectory, calculate its position in 1937 and there you go instant find. Check the asteroid against data collected then (eg. size) and realese information to the public.

There is only a small margin of error, especially if it was a large asteroid.