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243 Ida and its moon Dactyl as imaged by Galileo in 1993
File:762Pulcova-SwRI.gif
762 Pulcova and satellite as seen with adaptive optics in 2000

A minor-planet moon is an astronomical object that orbits a minor planet as its natural satellite. It is thought that many asteroids and Kuiper belt objects may possess moons, in some cases quite substantial in size. Discoveries of minor-planet moons (and binary objects, in general) 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.<ref name="SwRI2000" /> As of October 2015, there are over 270 minor planets known to have moons.<ref name="Johnston2008" />


Minor-planet moon sections
Intro   Terminology   Discovery milestones  Commonality  Origin  Populations  Dwarf planets  List of minor planets with moons   See also    References    External links   

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243 Ida and its moon Dactyl as imaged by Galileo in 1993
File:762Pulcova-SwRI.gif
762 Pulcova and satellite as seen with adaptive optics in 2000

A minor-planet moon is an astronomical object that orbits a minor planet as its natural satellite. It is thought that many asteroids and Kuiper belt objects may possess moons, in some cases quite substantial in size. Discoveries of minor-planet moons (and binary objects, in general) 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.<ref name="SwRI2000" /> As of October 2015, there are over 270 minor planets known to have moons.<ref name="Johnston2008" />


Minor-planet moon sections
Intro   Terminology   Discovery milestones  Commonality  Origin  Populations  Dwarf planets  List of minor planets with moons   See also    References    External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Terminology
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