Star field showing Hektor (apmag 15)
|Discovered by||A. Kopff|
|Discovery site||Heidelberg Obs.|
|Discovery date||10 February 1907|
|MPC designation||(624) Hektor|
|Hector (Greek mythology)|
|1907 XM; 1948 VD|
|Jupiter trojan  · Hektor |
|Orbital characteristics |
|Epoch 23 March 2018 (JD 2458200.5)|
|Uncertainty parameter 0|
|Observation arc||111.28 yr (40,646 d)|
|12.05 yr (4,403 d)|
|0° 4m 54.48s / day|
|Known satellites||1 (Skamandrios; D: 12±3 km|
|Jupiter MOID||0.2752 AU|
|Dimensions||370 km × 195 km × 195 km|
403 km × 201 km (derived)
|6.9205 hours (0.28835 d)|
|13.79 to 15.26|
|7.20 · 7.3 · 7.49|
|0.078" to 0.048"|
624 Hektor (// HEK-tor) is the largest Jupiter trojan and the namesake of the Hektor family, with a highly elongated shape equivalent in volume to a sphere of approximately 225 to 250 kilometers diameter. It was discovered on 10 February 1907, by astronomer August Kopff at Heidelberg Observatory in southwest Germany, and named after the Trojan prince Hector, from Greek mythology. It has one small 12-kilometer sized satellite, Skamandrios, discovered in 2006.
Hektor is a D-type asteroid, dark and reddish in colour. It lies in Jupiter's leading Lagrangian point, L4, called the Greek camp after one of the two sides in the legendary Trojan War. Hektor is named after the Trojan hero Hektor and is thus one of two trojan asteroids that is "misplaced" in the wrong camp (the other one being 617 Patroclus in the Trojan camp).
Hektor is one of the most elongated bodies of its size in the Solar System, being approximately 403 km in its longest dimension, but averaging only around 201 km in its other dimensions, with a total volume equivalent to an approx 250 km diameter sphere, and an estimated mass of 7.9×1018 kg (thus density of 1.0g/cm3). It is thought that Hektor might be a contact binary (two asteroids joined by gravitational attraction) like 216 Kleopatra, composed of two more rounded lobes of 220 and 183 km mean diameters. Hubble Space Telescope observations of Hektor in 1993 did not show an obvious bilobate shape because of a limited angular resolution. On 17 July 2006, the Keck 10-meter-II-telescope and its laser guide star adaptive optics (AO) system indicated a bilobate shape for Hektor, which was reinforced by later studies that, together with multiple historical lightcurves, suggest a rotation period of 6.9205 hours.
Additionally, a 12-km-diameter moon of Hektor, named Skamandrios, S/2006 (624) 1, was detected orbiting with a semi-major axis of 623.5 km and an orbital period of 2.9651 days (71.162 hours). It was confirmed with Keck observations in November 2011. No mass estimate was provided, but the equivalent volume suggests an approximate mass of 8.74×1014 kg if the two bodies are of the same density.
Hektor is, so far, one of only two known binary trojan asteroids in the L4 point (the other being 16974 Iphthime) and the first known trojan with a satellite companion. 617 Patroclus, another large trojan asteroid located in the L5, is composed of two almost equal-sized components.
|Source: JPL Small-Body Database, NEOWISE data|
624 Hektor was in a 2003 study of asteroids using the Hubble FGS. Asteroids studied include (63) Ausonia, (15) Eunomia, (43) Ariadne, (44) Nysa, and (624) Hektor. It has since been revisited several times, particularly as a test of the upgraded resolution of the Keck Observatory's LGS Adaptive Optics system which allowed Earth-based observation of binary asteroids for the first time. The asteroid has also been imaged by the NEOWISE and AKARI all-sky studies, which reported highly divergent size estimates of 147.4 and 231.0 kilometers  respectively, although this mostly arises from large differences in estimated albedo (approximately 0.107 for NEOWISE, and a much lower 0.034 for AKARI) rather than its absolute magnitude being measured only briefly at opposing extremes of a widely varying cycle such as thought to account for the uncertainty over the size of 1173 Anchises (624 Hektor's own abs. mag. recorded as a relatively similar 7.20 and 7.49 by the two studies). It is, unusually, not included in the published IRAS results, and is therefore the largest Jupiter trojan to be omitted from that study.