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A kilometer-wide asteroid discovered in Earth’s orbit

The earth does not revolve around the sun solely on its orbit. In addition to the moon, she also has some smaller companions. Astronomers have now discovered the 2020 XL5 Trojan.

The earth does not revolve around the sun solely on its orbit. In addition to the moon, she also has some smaller companions. Astronomers have now discovered another Trojan that is harmless to our planet. The new observations from the University of Barcelona and the NOIRLab in Chile confirm: The asteroid 2020 XL5 has a diameter of more than one kilometer, three times larger than the only previously known Earth Trojan 2010 TK7.

2020 XL5 orbits Lagrange point 4

And where exactly is he? It orbits the Lagrange point 4; a point on Earth’s orbit about 60 degrees in front of our planet. Much like its predecessor, the 2020 XL5 is not a permanent companion on Earth. Model simulations show that it will leave its orbit in around 4,000 years.

Trojan could originate from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter

Where the Trojan originally came from is still unclear. However, initial analyzes suggest that it could be a C-type asteroid. These common, carbon-rich asteroids originate in the outer part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. “A possible explanation for its trajectory could therefore be that it was thrown out of the main belt by an orbital resonance with Jupiter and then caught by the Lagrange point,” the researchers suspect.
According to the astronomers, both Trojans are not the only ones of their kind. There could be numerous other asteroids at the Lagrangian points.

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