Eugenia and Petit Prince

Composite image of 45 Eugenia and its moon at upper left made from 15-second exposures on the CFHT in November 1998.

Petit-Prince is a satellite of the asteroid 45 Eugenia. It was discovered in 1998 by astronomers using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Petit-Prince was named in 2003 after Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's character The Little Prince, who was in turn based on the Prince Imperial, son of Empress Eugenia. The name is especially apt since The Little Prince in the novel lives on an asteroid.


Petit-Prince is 13 kilometers in diameter, compared to 45 Eugenia's 226 kilometers, and takes five days to complete an orbit of its primary. It was the first asteroidal moon to be discovered by a ground-based telescope. Previously, the only known moon of an asteroid was Dactyl.