Masursky as seen by Cassini with identification arrow
|Discovered by||Edward L. G. Bowell|
|Discovery date||May 3, 1981|
|1950 VO; 1973 QF;
1975 XJ5; 1977 KU;
|Main belt (Eunomia family)|
|Epoch July 14, 2004 (JD 2453200.5)|
|Aphelion||426.737 Gm (2.853 AU)|
|Perihelion||341.603 Gm (2.283 AU)|
|384.170 Gm (2.568 AU)|
|1503.127 d (4.12 a)|
Average orbital speed
|~2.7 g/cm³ (estimate)|
max: 264 K (−9° C)
The asteroid 2685 Masursky is a main-belt asteroid. It was discovered by Edward (Ted) Bowell in 1981. It was named after Harold Masursky (1923–1990), a planetary geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, who worked on numerous space missions.
Little was known about Masursky until the Cassini space probe, en route to Jupiter and Saturn, flew past it on 23 January 2000. Because Cassini passed the asteroid at a distance of 1.6 million kilometres (about four times the Earth–Moon distance), the images it returned showed nothing more than a dot. Nevertheless, Cassini was able to determine Masursky's size, about 15–20 km in diameter. The asteroid was between 0.81 and 1.08 arcseconds in apparent diameter.
Masursky's orbit places it within the Eunomia family of S-type asteroids. Cassini's observations had cast some doubt on its composition, but later ground-based spectroscopy has confirmed its S-type spectrum.
- G. A. Krasinsky et al. Hidden Mass in the Asteroid Belt, Icarus, Vol. 158, p. 98 (2002).
- NASA/JPL. "PIA02449 info page". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- D. Lazzaro; T. Mothé-Diniz; J. M. Carvano; C. A. Angeli; A. S. Betzler; M. Florczak et al. (1999). "The Eunomia Family: A Visible Spectroscopic Survey". Icarus 142 (2): 445. Bibcode:1999Icar..142..445L. doi:10.1006/icar.1999.6213.