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Trojan Asteroid Spotted Near Jupiter's Orbit for the First Time in Billion Years

Image for representation

Image for representation

Known as active asteroids, these objects appear to be asteroids at first, but later develop activity, such as tails, like that of comets.

  • Last Updated: May 26, 2020, 11:02 AM IST
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A 'first of its kind' object, which appears to be a cross between an asteroid and a comet, has been detected by astronomers near Jupiter's oribit.

The Wion reported that The Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii's Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) revealed that a new asteroid with a comet-like-tail has been discovered moving in the same orbit travelled by Jupiter around the sun.

Known as active asteroids, these objects appear to be asteroids at first, but later develop activity, such as tails, like that of comets.They are usually known as Trojan asteroids. However, it is the first one of its kind to be seen with a comet-like-tail.

The Trojan asteroid was first spotted in June 2019 and dubbed 2019 LD2. These asteroids follow same orbit like that of a planet, but remain 60 degrees ahead or behind along the orbit. Planets like Earth, Neptune and Jupiter have more than one Trojan asteroids.

The Jupiter Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun in two huge swarms, one swarm orbiting ahead of the planet (where 2019 LD2 was found) and one swarm orbiting behind it, the Wion reported.

The Trojan asteroids have been captured into these orbits by Jupiter's strong gravity. 2019 LD2 is ''first-of-its-kind'' because most Jupiter Trojans were captured billions of years ago.


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