As asteroids have been such a popular topic lately, I chose to type the word into the site finder to see what would result. Interestingly, I did find some information about one space object that is being studied by astronomers and similar scientists. It is an asteroid, and it is attracting attention because of it’s currently unusual location.
This asteroid is gravitationally bound to the planet Neptune. Astronomers whom have been studying our eighth planet were surprised to find this asteroid in it’s current orbital position. Apparently, it is in a place that is not likely for asteroids, or any orbiting objects, to be found.
This asteroid was found orbiting within a Lagrangian point around Neptune. This is a particular area where the forces of gravity are equalled, serene, because the forces of all other nearby objects cancel out one another. It is supposed to be a practically smooth and empty location because there are other bodies nearby, and they are exerting their gravitational powers at levels which do not permit the existence of additional orbiting objects.
The asteroid is called a Trojan asteroid. It is designated as such because the nulling of gravitational forces do not let the asteroid collide with the larger body that it orbits. When astronomers are referring to objects in space as “trojans“, they usually mean that the objects are orbiting larger bodies, likely were captured by these bodies, and they never will collide because of the forces of gravity at work. These trojans always are within the Lagrangian points around their larger celestial bodies.
Anyhow. This particular asteroid around Neptune is orbiting in what scientists have labeled as that planet’s Lagrangian point five. It is the first asteroid ever found, orbiting within this area of our eighth planet. Astronomers and scientific studiers are saying that Lagrangian points are where asteroids are frequently caught by the gravity that is exerted by the planets Jupiter and Neptune.
This particular Trojan asteroid was not easy for astronomers to find. There is not a lot of light at the distance of Neptune, being so far away from The Sun. As well, the asteroid was found within a so-called “dead zone” because nothing was supposed to exist inside of this particular area. It seems that Trojan asteroids are being located, orbiting Jupiter, Neptune, and within The Asteroid Belt. Four of them have been found around Neptune, so far.
It has been hard for astronomers to locate smaller objects orbiting Neptune because of the planet’s distance. It is much darker at Neptune, as it is an average of 2.77 billion miles from The Sun. It likely is not unusual for a planet of this size to capture wayward objects that wander too closely to it!
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