This image shows the asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite as seen by the Lucy Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (L’LORRI) as NASA

On its first asteroid flyby on Nov. 1, NASA’s Lucy mission discovered that the main belt asteroid Dinkinesh has a small moon orbiting it. Now, additional images have revealed another surprise: Dinkinesh’s moon is not one, but two small satellites. The twin moons initially appeared as one because they are so close together, they touch as they orbit.

Dinkinesh — affectionately known as “Dinky” — is about 2,500 feet (790 meters) in diameter, making it the smallest main belt asteroid ever explored by a spacecraft. Astronomers have been observing Dinkinesh since 1999, and they knew that the asteroid was somewhat unusual by the way its brightness fluctuated. But they did not predict that the diminutive asteroid was harboring a moon — let alone two. Based on Lucy’s images, its moons appear to be a combined 720 feet (220 m) around.

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