On the Hunt for the Jupiter Trojans

in Popular STEM2 months ago

On the Hunt for the Jupiter Trojans




These Trojans are primitive bodies orbit the sun sharing the same orbit as Jupiter and are grouped in two vast swarms, they are called Trojans because the first one discovered in 1906 by the German astronomer Max wolf was named Achilles after the hero of the Trojan War and the next ones that were found were also named after that mythical war, but the number of asteroids soon surpassed all the participants in that contest.



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It is believed that the L4 group could contain between 160,000 and 240,000 asteroids with diameters greater than 2 kilometers and around 600,000 asteroids with diameters greater than one kilometer and if the other group the L5 with had a similar number of asteroids the total number of Trojans of diameter greater than one kilometer would well exceed one million.


The letters L4 and L5 refer to the farm points that are places in the orbit of a planet, in this case Jupiter where asteroid can orbit the sun in a stable way without ending up impacting the planet or being launched by the solar system.



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The number of Trojan asteroids is similar to that which exists in the famous main asteroid belt that is between Mars and Jupiter, although there is a curious difference and that is that among the Trojans there are no giant asteroids such as Vestas or Palas, which exceed 500 kilometers diameter.



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The largest of the Trojans is Hector with a radius of just over 100 kilometers and there are many that exceed 42 kilometers in diameter, the Trojan asteroids are considered to be fossils from the time of the formation of the planets 4,500 million years ago .



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Lucy's main mission will be 12 years and will begin by exploring a main belt asteroid called Donald Johansson, which she will arrive in 2025, then she will travel to explore seven Trojan asteroids, the last of which to be visited will be the binary asteroid Patrick Menoetius. in the year 2033.





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