The 4th Workshop on Binaries in the Solar System

Prague, Czech Republic

2016 June 21-23


The possibility that asteroids might have satellites or even "contact binary" form has been a matter of speculation since the early discoveries of these small bodies. In the Asteroids II volume (1989), Weidenschilling et al. summarized the then inconclusive evidence in a chapter titled "Do asteroids have satellites?", concluding that there was not a single conclusive case of an asteroidal satellite (Pluto was then still a planet). Only a little more than a decade later, in the Asteroids III volume (2002), Merline et al. presented a chapter proudly titled "Asteroids do have satellites," summarizing the properties of about 25 then-discovered binaries, including members of the main belt, near-Earth population, a Trojan, and several Trans-Neptunian Objects. Since that time, we now have discovered about 275 satellites of minor bodies of all classes, including a pair of rings around a Centaur, and numerous pairs of asteroids in extremely similar heliocentric orbits, which must be recently disintegrated binaries.

This Workshop is the 4th in a series that began with the 1st Workshop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in August 2007 and was followed by the 2nd Workshop in Poznan, Poland in July 2010 and the 3rd on Kohala Coast of Hawai'i in June/July 2013. These workshops were characterized by a relaxed atmosphere and free format, with almost as much time for discussion as for the presentations themselves.

The goal of the workshop is to bring together various ideas on the detection, characterization, formation, and implications of binary and multiple objects among the NEO, main-belt, Trojan, Centaur, TNO populations. We hope to include all of the many modes of observation, in all of the dynamical populations, as well as theory and numerical modeling of formation and evolution of these systems. We especially welcome the new topics of rings of small bodies, and heliocentric orbital pairs of asteroids and their implications. To maintain the small meeting atmosphere that has made the previous Binary workshops successful, the number of participants will be capped at 50 . There will be 5 half-day sessions. We also plan time and space for posters, and encourage even those making oral presentations to consider a supplemental poster to contain the more technical data and mathematics relating to an oral talk.

Note on Pluto: For this workshop, we very much consider Pluto and its satellites as a "TNO" system and include it in our purview. We welcome contributions relating to the Pluto system and its relation to other TNO binary and multiple systems, but it is not our intention to focus heavily on results from the recent New Horizons mission. That could overwhelm our limited focus and facilities, and should, no doubt will, be the focus of other, larger meetings in the near future.


Binaries-4 will take place over 2.5 days, June 21 - 23, 2016, and will be held at Vila Lanna in Prague, Czech Republic.

Draft Workshop Schedule

June 20:
During the day - A sightseeing tour of "astronomical Prague"
18:00-21:00 - Welcome reception

June 21:
09:00-12:30 - Sessions 1 and 2
12:30-13:30 - Lunch
13:30-17:00 - Sessions 3 and 4
18:00-21:00 - Banquet + poster session

June 22:
09:00-12:30 - Sessions 5 and 6
12:30-13:30 - Lunch
13:30-17:00 - Sessions 7 and 8
18:00-21:00 - Dinner

June 23:
09:00-12:30 - Sessions 9 and 10

From June 23 afternoon to June 25:
A field trip to the Ries-Steinheim impact craters in Germany.

Tour and Field Trip

We plan to organize a tour of "astronomical Prague", including the Kepler house, tomb of Tycho, and ... TO-BE-DONE, and a post-conference field trip to the Ries and Steinheim impact craters in Germany, about a five hours drive from Prague (Petr S. fill in details). The town of Nordlingen, which occupies the center of the Reis Crater, is a significant tourist destination on the "Romantic Road" in Germany and well worth a day or two visit aside from the impact crater.


The primary conference hotel is the venue Vila Lanna. They have 24 rooms: 13 one-bed, 2 two-bed and 9 double-bed rooms. Our special price is 910 CZK/night and 1400 CZK/night for the one- and two/double-bed rooms, respectively. Breakfast is included. They have 10 car parking places (for 150 CZK/night each).

There are two suitable overflow hotels very close to (about 200 meters from) Vila Lanna:
Villa Schwaiger and Penzion Na Stare Poste. Villa Schwaiger offers us following prices: 1800 and 2000 CZK/night for 1- and 2-bed rooms, respectively. Penzion Na Stare Poste lists following prices: 65 and 79 EUR/night for 2- and 3-bed room, respectively.


Vila Lanna is about 10-15 min by walking from Metro (the underground) station Hradcanska (Line A, the Green line). Metro is the easiest mean of public transportation in Prague. The standard one-way (90-min transfer) ticket costs 32 CZK. The all-day (24 hour) ticket costs 110 CZK. The 3-day (72 hour) ticket costs 310 CZK. You can buy tickets in ticket machines (coins needed) or in newsstands, or you can pay the transportation fee by sms (text) message if you have a Czech mobile phone card. A ticket machine on the Prague airport should also accept payment with contactless card. Metro operates from 05:00 to 24:00 approximately.

For transfer from/to the Prague (Vaclav Havel) airport, we recommend you to use the bus line 119 between the airport and the Metro station Nadrazi Veleslavin and the Metro line A (Green) between the stations Nadrazi Veleslavin and Hradcanska. The total transportation time should be about 40 minutes. Taxis are available but are far more expensive than the bus/metro. WE'LL CHECK ONE MORE OPTION FOR THE TRANSFER.


Please, fill in the on-line registration form not later than on ??/??/2016 [deadline to be determined].

The list of so far registerred participans is available here.

Registration fee that covers participation at the event, coffe-break refreshment, and ... TBD has been set to 5400 CZK (approx. 200 EUR). The possible ways of payment are described here.





Alan Harris (SOC Chair):

Petr Pravec (LOC Chair):

More stuff ....