Their name comes from the Trojan asteroids which have the same orbital period as a planet. As of March 2007, there are six 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, 385571 Otrera, 2005 TN53, 385695 Clete, 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. It is believed that large (radius ≈ 100 km) Neptune Trojans could greatly outnumber the Jupiter Trojans.
References[change | change source]
- 2005 TN74, listed earlier as a Neptune Trojan, proved to be a scattered disk object.
- List Of Neptune Trojans (March 8, 2007) at cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/.
- S. Sheppard and C. Trujillo "A Thick Cloud of Neptune Trojans and Their Colors" (2006) Science 313, pp. 511-514
- E. I. Chiang and Y. Lithwick Neptune Trojans as a Testbed for Planet Formation, The Astrophysical Journal, 628, pp. 520–532 Preprint
- space.com popular article (Jan 2007)