524522 Zoozve


524522 Zoozve (provisional designation 2002 VE68) is a sub-kilometer sized asteroid and temporary quasi-moon of Venus.[5] Discovered in 2002, it was the first such object to be discovered around a major planet in the Solar System. It has nearly the same orbital period around the Sun that Venus does. In a frame of reference rotating with Venus, it appears to travel around it during one Venerean year, but it orbits the Sun, not Venus.[6]

524522 Zoozve
Animation of Zoozve's orbit from 1600 to 2500 - relative to Sun and Venus
  •    Sun ·    Mercury ·    Venus ·    Earth ·    524522 Zoozve
Discovered byLONEOS
Discovery siteAnderson Mesa Stn.
Discovery date11 November 2002
(524522) 2002 VE68
2002 VE68
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 5 September 2014 (JD 2456905.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc16.06 yr (5,866 d)
Aphelion1.0206 AU
Perihelion0.4268 AU
0.7237 AU
225 days
1° 36m 3.6s / day
Earth MOID0.027 AU (10.44 LD)
Physical characteristics
236 m (calculated)[3]
13.50±0.01 h[3][4]
0.20 (assumed)[3]

Discovery, orbit and physical properties

Animation of Zoozve's current orbit from 2023 to 2025 - it has the same orbital period as Venus
   Sun ·    Mercury ·    Venus ·    Earth ·    524522 Zoozve

Zoozve was discovered on 11 November 2002 by Brian A. Skiff at Lowell Observatory.[7][8] As of February 2013, it has been observed telescopically 457 times with a data-arc span of 2,947 days, and it was the target of Doppler observations on five occasions; therefore, its orbit is very well determined. Its semi-major axis of 0.7237 AU is very similar to that of Venus, but its eccentricity is relatively large (0.4104), and its orbital inclination is also significant (9.0060°). The spectrum of Zoozve implies that it is an X-type asteroid and hence an albedo of about 0.25 should be assumed.[9] The body is calculated to measure 236 meters in diameter. Its rotational period is 13.5 hours, and its light curve has an amplitude of 0.9 mag, which hints at a very elongated body, perhaps a contact binary.[9]

Quasi-satellite dynamical state and orbital evolution


The existence of retrograde satellites or quasi-satellites was first considered by J. Jackson in 1913[10] but none was discovered until almost 90 years later.[6] Zoozve was the first quasi-satellite to be discovered, in 2002, although it was not immediately recognized as such. Zoozve was identified as a quasi-satellite of Venus by Seppo Mikkola, Ramon Brasser, Paul A. Wiegert and Kimmo Innanen in 2004, two years after the actual discovery of the object.[5][6] From the perspective of a hypothetical observer in a frame of reference rotating with Venus, it appears to travel around the planet during one Venusian year. However, it does not orbit Venus, but instead orbits the Sun, like any other asteroid. As a quasi-satellite, this minor body is trapped in a 1:1 mean-motion resonance with Venus. Besides being a Venus co-orbital, this Aten asteroid is also a Mercury grazer and an Earth crosser. Zoozve exhibits resonant (or near-resonant) behavior with Mercury, Venus and Earth.[11][12] It seems to have been co-orbital with Venus for only the last 7,000 years, and is destined to be ejected from this orbital arrangement about 500 years from now.[6] During this time, its distance to Venus has been and will remain larger than about 0.2 astronomical units (30,000,000 km; 19,000,000 mi).

Potentially hazardous asteroid


Zoozve is included in the Minor Planet Center list of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) because it comes relatively frequently to within 0.05 AU of Earth. Approaches as close as 0.04 AU occur with a periodicity of 8 years due to its near 8:13 resonance with Earth.[11] Zoozve was discovered during the close approaches of 11 November 2002. During the close encounter on 7 November 2010, Zoozve approached Earth within 0.035 AU (13.6 Lunar distances), brightening below 15th magnitude. Its previous fly-by with Earth happened on 4 November 2018 at 0.038 AU (5,700,000 km; 3,500,000 mi).[13] Numerical simulations indicate that an actual collision with Earth during the next 10,000 years is not likely, although dangerously close approaches to about 0.002 AU are possible, a distance potentially within Earth's Hill sphere.[11]

Numbering and naming


This minor planet was numbered by the Minor Planet Center on 18 May 2019 (M.P.C. 114620).[14]

On 26 January 2024, the Radiolab podcast aired an episode about the asteroid, which co-host Latif Nasser first noticed on his child's solar system poster, where it was referred to as "ZOOZVE", derived from the artist, Alex Foster, misreading his notes regarding the asteroid's provisional designation "2002VE".[8] This led Skiff to propose the name "Zoozve", on Nasser's behalf, to the International Astronomical Union's Working Group Small Bodies Nomenclature (WGSBN).[15] The name was approved and announced by the WGSBN on 5 February 2024.[16]

See also



  1. ^ "2002 VE68". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2002 VE68)" (2018-12-03 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "LCDB Data for (2002+VE68)". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hicks, M.; Mayes, D.; Barajas, T. (December 2010). "Broadband photometry of 2002 VE68, a quasi-moon of Venus". The Astronomer's Telegram. 3073 (3073): 1. Bibcode:2010ATel.3073....1H.
  5. ^ a b "Discovery of the first quasi-satellite of Venus". Tuorla Observatory. 17 August 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d Mikkola, S.; Brasser, R.; Wiegert, P.; Innanen, K. (2004). "Asteroid 2002 VE68, a quasi-satellite of Venus". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 351 (3): L63–L65. Bibcode:2004MNRAS.351L..63M. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2004.07994.x.
  7. ^ "MPEC 2002-V52 : 2002 VE68". Minor Planet Electronic Circulars. Minor Planet Center. 11 November 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  8. ^ a b Latif Nasser (26 January 2024). "Zoozve". radiolab.org (Podcast). WNYC Studios. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  9. ^ a b "Physical characterization of 2002 VE68, a quasi-moon of Venus" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  10. ^ Jackson, J. (1913). "Retrograde satellite orbits". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 74 (2): 62. Bibcode:1913MNRAS..74...62J. doi:10.1093/mnras/74.2.62.
  11. ^ a b c de la Fuente Marcos, C.; de la Fuente Marcos, R. (2012). "On the dynamical evolution of 2002 VE68". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 427 (1): 728. arXiv:1208.4444. Bibcode:2012MNRAS.427..728D. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21936.x. S2CID 118535095.
  12. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl (2013). "Asteroid 2012 XE133, a transient companion to Venus". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 432 (2): 886–893. arXiv:1303.3705. Bibcode:2013MNRAS.432..886D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stt454.
  13. ^ "JPL Close-Approach Data: (2002 VE68)" (2010-12-06 last obs (arc=8 years)). Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  14. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  15. ^ Chandler, David L. (9 February 2024). "How Venus Ended Up with a Mini-Moon Named Zoozve". Sky and Telescope. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  16. ^ "WGSBN Bulletin 4, #2" (PDF). WGSBN Bulletin. 4 (2). International Astronomical Union: 14. 5 February 2024. Retrieved 5 February 2024.

Further reading

  • Understanding the Distribution of Near-Earth Asteroids Bottke, W. F., Jedicke, R., Morbidelli, A., Petit, J.-M., Gladman, B. 2000, Science, Vol. 288, Issue 5474, pp. 2190–2194.
  • A Numerical Survey of Transient Co-orbitals of the Terrestrial Planets Christou, A. A. 2000, Icarus, Vol. 144, Issue 1, pp. 1–20.
  • Debiased Orbital and Absolute Magnitude Distribution of the Near-Earth Objects Bottke, W. F., Morbidelli, A., Jedicke, R., Petit, J.-M., Levison, H. F., Michel, P., Metcalfe, T. S. 2002, Icarus, Vol. 156, Issue 2, pp. 399–433.
  • Transient co-orbital asteroids Brasser, R., Innanen, K. A., Connors, M., Veillet, C., Wiegert, P., Mikkola, S., Chodas, P. W. 2004, Icarus, Vol. 171, Issue 1, pp. 102–109.
  • The population of Near Earth Asteroids in coorbital motion with Venus Morais, M. H. M., Morbidelli, A. 2006, Icarus, Vol. 185, Issue 1, pp. 29–38.
  • Asteroid 2012 XE133: a transient companion to Venus de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl (2013), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 432, Issue 2, pp. 886–893.
  • List Of Aten Minor Planets, Minor Planet Center
  • List of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs)
  • Image acquired during the last 2002 VE68 close approach, 7 November 2010 (Martin Mobberley's Astronomical Images web site)
  • Light curve (Ondřejov NEO Photometric Program)
  • 2002 VE68 Goldstone Radar Observations
  • Zoozve, Radiolab episode (26 January 2024)
  • WGSBN Bulletin Volume 4, #2
  • 524522 Zoozve at NeoDyS-2, Near Earth Objects—Dynamic Site
    • Ephemerides · Observation prediction · Orbital info · MOID · Proper elements · Observational info · Close approaches · Physical info · Orbit animation
  • 524522 Zoozve at ESA–space situational awareness
    • Ephemerides · Observations · Orbit · Physical properties · Summary
  • 524522 Zoozve at the JPL Small-Body Database
    • Close approach · Discovery · Ephemeris · Orbit diagram · Orbital elements · Physical parameters