Neptune Trojan

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A Neptune Trojan is an asteroid which is in the same orbit as the planet Neptune.

Their name comes from the Trojan asteroids which have the same orbital period as a planet. As of March 2007, there are six[1][2] known Neptune Trojans. They lie in the elongated, curved region around the L4 Lagrangian point 60° ahead of Neptune. The six Neptune Trojans are 2001 QR322, 2004 UP10, 2005 TN53, 2005 TO74, 2006 RJ103 and 2007 RW10.

The discovery of 2005 TN53 in a high inclination (>25°) orbit is significant because it suggests a ‘thick’ cloud of Trojans.[3] It is believed that large (radius ≈ 100 km) Neptune Trojans could greatly outnumber the Jupiter Trojans.[4][5]

The New Horizons spacecraft passed through the L5 Neptune region in 2014. It was preparing to observe Pluto and did not observe any asteroids there.

References[change | change source]

  1. 2005 TN74, listed earlier as a Neptune Trojan, proved to be a scattered disk object.
  2. List Of Neptune Trojans (March 8, 2007) at cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/.
  3. S. Sheppard and C. Trujillo "A Thick Cloud of Neptune Trojans and Their Colors" (2006) Science 313, pp. 511-514
  4. E. I. Chiang and Y. Lithwick Neptune Trojans as a Testbed for Planet Formation, The Astrophysical Journal, 628, pp. 520–532 Preprint
  5. space.com popular article (Jan 2007)