What is a Trojan asteroid?



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    Trojan asteroids are interesting phenomenon. In astronomical terminology, a Trojan is a minor planet, natural satellite (like a moon), or an asteroid that shares an orbit with a larger space body, like a planet or a moon, but does not collide with it. The orbits of the Trojan and its larger counterpart are considered stable. The orbits do not collide because of something called Lagrangian points of stability, which you can see a diagram of below.

    The Trojan orbits around one of two Lagrangian points, also known as Trojan points. Adam Stevenson in ars technica explains that the 5 Lagrangian points are “in or near a planet’s orbit where a smaller object can orbit stably […] The first two Lagrangian points (called L1 and L2) exist on either side of the planet on a line between the planet’s center and the center of the sun. L3 sits directly opposite the planet on the other side of the sun. L4 and L5 also sit in the planet’s orbit, but in front of or behind it.” The Lagrangian points are important because they “make excellent sites for space stations and observatories” (Stevenson). Presently, Earth has one trojan asteroid called TK7,but its orbit may change and therefore it may not remain a Trojan Asteroid. 

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