Thursday, July 28, 2011

Earth Now Has a Trojan

Asteroid that is. I totally missed this yesterday but a loyal listener Dan brought it to my attention again. In a boing boing article Earth now joins an elite group of three other planets that are know to have Trojan companions. Trojans also share orbits with Neptune, Mars and Jupiter. Two of Saturn's moons share orbits with Trojans.

According to the Wiki article:
  • ... the word trojan refers to a minor planet or natural satellite (moon) that shares an orbit with a larger planet or moon, but does not collide with it because it orbits around one of the two Lagrangian points of stability
  • The Lagrangian points or L-points, are the five positions in an orbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be stationary relative to two larger objects (such as a satellite with respect to the Earth and Moon).
It has been a long held belief that Earth has a Trojan companion, but until recently, none had been discovered.

Earth's Trojan asteroid was discovered by researcher’s using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer project. From the article once more:
  • The asteroid is roughly 1,000 feet in diameter (and) is about 50 million miles from Earth.
read complete Boing Boing article here


Dave Tackett said...

Tiny, but worth a low-cost mission to take a look.

Lynn said...

I am sorry but I have to say it-Trojan-Man!
Nice to know we are protected!Is this practicing "safe orbits"?

Beam Me Up said...

Yeah, I wouldn't mind a pic or two. I suspect that due to its orbital eccentricities it would be a long long ride to catch it. In Earth's orbit, it goes above and below the orbital plain and weirder still it seems to move from L-4 to L-3. But they do have its orbit plotted but only to 100 years. This tells me that it is a very eccentric little rock.

Beam Me Up said...

Lynn Lynn Lynn....I can see we have been a bad influence. That and I wish I had thought of it! lmao!

Lynn said...

Beam Me Up-I do not think you are a bad influence-most likely the other way around! I was born in the mid fifties and grew up with Dr. Demento-he was local and had his own 4 hour show on KMET (not the syndicated show everyone else got).

Beam Me Up said...

But look at how the conversation has degenerated! We have gone from discovering an Earth Trojan, to Trojan Man, to practicing safe orbits all the way to Dr. Demento...I challenge any sane person to follow that logic!

Oh and btw DD was my hero in the late 60s, wolfman Jack and dare I say even Al Yankovich didn't even come close to what he offered. But that was when Al got huge, when Dr. D. started playing his weird polka parodies. fun