Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

First Earth Trojan Asteroid Discovered

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the little-brother dept.

Space 173

The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers have found the very first Earth Trojan asteroid, a rock that more-or-less shares Earth's orbit around the Sun. Seen in data by NASA's WISE mission, 2010 TK7 is about 300 meters across and leads the Earth by 60 degrees around the Sun. Trojans have been seen for Jupiter, Neptune, and Mars, but this is the first for our planet."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

well, then we should... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900390)

Kill it with fire!!!

How does a condom company sponsor an asteroid? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900424)

It seems like the asteroid would do just find without corporate sponsorship.

Trojans! (4, Funny)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900434)

... the very first Earth Trojan asteroid,

Curse its sudden but inevitable betrayal.

Re:Trojans! (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901480)

... the very first Earth Trojan asteroid,

Curse its sudden but inevitable betrayal.

Now die!

Finally (0, Offtopic)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900458)

The Earth has abandoned all that parochial school teaching and pick up some Trojans...

First Earth (1, Offtopic)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900462)

Is First Earth anything like Second Life?

Re:First Earth (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900876)

Here's something you could use, though I doubt you'll get it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_comprehension [wikipedia.org]

L4 (2, Insightful)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900464)

This one should be called 'Lagrange'

Re:L4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900606)

This one should be called 'Lagrange'

Only if it has a lot of nice girls.

Re:L4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901950)

Ah how how how how.

Re:L4 (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900706)

Rumour spreadin' a-'round in that Texas town
'bout that rock outside La Grange
and you know what I'm talkin' about.
Just let me know if you wanna go
to that stone out on the range.
They gotta lotta nice girls ah.

Have mercy.
A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw.
A haw, haw, haw.

Well, I hear it's fine if you got the time
and the ten to get yourself in.
A hmm, hmm.
And I hear it's tight most ev'ry night,
but now I might be mistaken.
hmm, hmm, hmm.

Ah have mercy.

Re:L4 (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900834)

Way to ruin the joke.

Re:L4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900934)

Shame I gave away all my mod points ^^^ shoehornjob

Re:L4 (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901972)

we should name it Dusty Hill

Re:L4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901072)

We've already got 1006 Lagrangea.

no surprise really (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901706)

First thing that crossed through my mind when I read this, duuh, that's an L4 or L5 isn't it?

Probably the only reason it took them this long to "discover" it was its small size. After all, they knew exactly where to look.

Re:L4 (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901866)

It must be quite the asteroid to have an entire planet in it's L5 Lagrange point.

Isn't this a ticking time bomb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900468)

If the orbit isn't exactly the same, then I'd expect the distance to slowly become smaller (either the asteroid revolves faster around the sun or slower). Won't it enter Earth's gravity well and crash into us when it comes to close?

Re:Isn't this a ticking time bomb? (5, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900516)

No, the Lagrange points are stable garbage dumps for planets to put "small" things of 9% of its mass or less, the stuff stays there. It's one of the ways a planet clears its orbit.

Re:Isn't this a ticking time bomb? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901332)

And if a LOT of stuff accumulates there - you get a new moon. Eventually.

That's how we got our favorite Luna, probably.

Re:Isn't this a ticking time bomb? (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901346)

Being that this is in the same orbit around the Sun as Earth and it will stay there, is this a viable location for a human colony?

First space colony would be the moon, then this asteroid, then Mars?

Re:Isn't this a ticking time bomb? (2)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901520)

From TFS:

...2010 TK7 is about 300 meters across...

It would be kind of cramped, and I rather suspect the gravitational pull would be negligible for all practical purposes.

Re:Isn't this a ticking time bomb? (2)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901844)

It would be kind of cramped, and I rather suspect the gravitational pull would be negligible for all practical purposes.

Assuming the same average density as Earth, the surface gravity would be about 1/50000 that of Earth. I make it 0.0002 meters/second squared.

...laura

Pluto rules (1, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900480)

Since this trojan shows that the Earth hasn't cleared its orbit, does that mean that Earth is no longer considered a planet?

Re:Pluto rules (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900510)

Given its position earth will never clear its orbit, but then I guess Jupiter shouldn't be considered one either as it also has an asteroid trapped in one of its Lagrange points.

Re:Pluto rules (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900550)

I should have corrected my initial post:

Given its position earth will never clear its orbit, but then I guess Jupiter shouldn't be considered one either as it also has an asteroids trapped at its Lagrange points, as does Neptune and Mars.

Re:Pluto rules (1, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900530)

Nope, putting small objects into a Lagrange point of stability is one way a planet clears its orbit.

Re:Pluto rules (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900838)

Planets can clear their orbits by placing things in their Lagrange points. Same way teenagers clean their rooms by shoving everything in the closet or under the bed.

Re:Pluto rules (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901448)

I learned that trick way before I was a teenager. under the dresser behind shield of shoes was a good place too.

Re:Pluto rules (2)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900538)

Since this trojan shows that the Earth hasn't cleared its orbit, does that mean that Earth is no longer considered a planet?

Being in a Lagrange point doesn't mean that the Earth hasn't cleared its orbit. Unless you want to argue that the presence of a moon means the Earth hasn't cleared its orbit. After all, the moon also roughly follows the orbit of the earth around the Sun.

Re:Pluto rules (1, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900822)

Actually, the Earth-Moon barycenter follows an orbit around the Sun. It just looks like it's Earth's orbit.

Re:Pluto rules (2)

TWX (665546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901722)

Given that the barycenter's center of mass is within Earth itself, I'm happy to call it Earth's orbit for simplicity's sake. Come to think of it, the only planet or dwarf planet whose satellite is massive enough to place the barycenter outside of the planet itself is Pluto.

I suppose that the astronomy and astrophysics communities could further refine the definition of planet based not only on size, but on the location of mass relative to a satellite...

Re:Pluto rules (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901994)

That seems problematic, with the variation in satellite size.

Re:Pluto rules (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900554)

Well, I guess that rule doen't apply to trojan points. Otherwise the list of planes would be quite small (4 now, but may quite well setle in 1 - Mercury - or 0 when we get better telescopes).

Re:Pluto rules (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901822)

Count on zero. The Solar System is a messy, dirty place.

Re:Pluto rules (1)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901942)

like your mom's coochie

Re:Pluto rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900716)

Clearing the neighborhood [wikipedia.org] is a bit more involve than just pointing out any object in the orbital path and screaming "So it's not a planet or Pluto is!!!onehundredeleven!!!"
 
I really don't understand the endless bickering over these points. So you'll have to call Pluto a dwarf planet to be technically correct. Ok. Is it really that big of a deal? No sane person is going to stab you with a ballpoint pen if you call Pluto a planet either. If anything, it's good that we have a solid definition today. They could have made the definition in such a way as to include Pluto but that would lead to a whole host of other objects being called planets too. The line needed to be drawn somewhere and this is where it was drawn. No one died because they did this. Just get over it already.

Re:Pluto rules (1)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901924)

no because its tiny...the other object needs to be comparable in size, like was the case with pluto and the plutoids (of nearly the same size)

Re:Pluto rules (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902010)

It's not even necessarily about the size of other objects, but about the total mass of objects.

Pluto is a tiny fraction of the mass in its orbit.

Everything else in earth's orbit is a tiny fraction of it (not counting Luna).

Re:Pluto rules (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901958)

No planet has cleared it's orbit 100%, which is okay because that never was the requirement.

Earth has done the job of clearing its orbit 100,000,000 times better than Pluto has. it doesn't have to be perfect to clearly be in a different class.

That's no Asteroid (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900482)

It's a KE weapon to be used by some nation.

I'm sorry, you lost part of your city to an asteroid?! Damn, what are the odds of that happening. Nature sure does suck doesn't it.

Re:That's no Asteroid (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901286)

Stephen Baxter's Titan [amazon.com] has an asteroid being used as a KE weapon.

Main concept missing from summary (2)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900484)

The asteroid orbits one of the two Lagrangian points of stability of the Earth-Sun system

Re:Main concept missing from summary (1)

tommy2tone (2357022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900542)

The asteroid orbits one of the two Lagrangian points of stability of the Earth-Sun system

There are 5 Lagrange points. One on the other side of the sun, one on the other side of us, 1 ahead of earth in orbit, one behind earth in orbit, and one in between us and the sun.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900694)

And only 2 are stable.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901026)

If there are only 5 then why did it take so long to find this rock? Is it becaue the sun is between us an it? If so then there could be some real intersting stuff at that lagrange point.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901102)

Ahh read the article. The rock isn't at the lagrange point but rather orbits the lagrange point.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901188)

RTFA.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (2)

tommy2tone (2357022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901532)

If there are only 5 then why did it take so long to find this rock? Is it becaue the sun is between us an it? If so then there could be some real intersting stuff at that lagrange point.

because the rock is 300 meters wide... space is a lot larger than that. Also the sun makes it difficult to see from the ground

Re:Main concept missing from summary (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901916)

Actually, the Sun would help because it would be illuminating the asteroid. It would be a permanently lit crescent in the morning sky.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901294)

But three of the Lagrange points are only stable in a plane perpendicular to the orbits of the two bodies making the point, they are not points of stable equilibrium for any displacement

Re:Main concept missing from summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901366)

Right, but only L4 and L5 are technically stable. L1 through L3 are only stable in one plane - I think they call it meta-stable. L4 and L5 will cause the object to "orbit" the point in a kidney shaped orbit. They never sit "at" the point as there is always some force to perturb them.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901534)

There are 5 Lagrange points.

But they are not all stable, are they? As far as I recall, there are also some unstable.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901964)

L1, L2, and L3 are all unstable (which is why I never understood the push to put a refuelling depot at Earth-Moon L2). Only L4 and L5 are stable.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36902204)

L1, L2, and L3 are all unstable (which is why I never understood the push to put a refuelling depot at Earth-Moon L2).

Because it takes greatly reduced stationkeeping effort vs other orbits (where the moon causes perturbations) -- and even less if you go into a halo orbit instead of parking right at the L2. This means both less fuel used, and less time pressure on contingency missions if your stationkeeping thrusters or control system should be disabled.

Re:Main concept missing from summary (2)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901954)

yes, and only 2 are STABLE minima, the other 3 are unstable maxima

I like the proposed names (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900490)

I like the proposed names of Coeus or Crius, the sons of Gaia for those who didn't RTFA, that that author suggests.

Re:I like the proposed names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901960)

Given that it's a Trojan, I think Coitus might be a better choice.

Intriguing (2)

dastrike (458983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900508)

And here I thought that from what I've heard so far that Earth had possibly some dust or at most some gravel at its L4 and L5 points. This discovery of a sizable asteroid there makes the Earth's L4/L5 points much more interesting. Hopefully there is even more to be found!

Re:Intriguing (1)

tommy2tone (2357022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900690)

I am surprised they haven't found this before. They are planning on installing satellites at L4 and L5, you would think they would figure out if there was anything there waiting on us.

Re:Intriguing (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901226)

well if you look at it's orbit it is orbiting the L4 in way that is out or our orbit plane.. so while it's stable it's also not exactly just sitting there.

When did it get there? (2)

Med-trump (2195662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900532)

When did it get there?

Re:When did it get there? (1)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901984)

I bet it is a spy satellite placed by aliens to watch us from afar.....its also a good port to refuel when you want to go on a weekend anal-probing trip with the fam.

and what's "First Earth" ?! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900534)

If it's a Trojan asteroid, does that mean it's full of space Greeks?!!!

Re:and what's "First Earth" ?! (2)

PlasmaEye (1128377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900810)

What's scarier is that it could be full of space Spartans.

This is madness!
THIS. IS. SPAAAAAACE!

Re:and what's "First Earth" ?! (-1, Redundant)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900920)

Seriously? Here's something you could use, though I doubt you'll get it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_comprehension [wikipedia.org]

Re:and what's "First Earth" ?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901076)

Totin' that joke all over this place aren't ya? You're such a clever individual!

Re:and what's "First Earth" ?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901570)

Blasphemy! Madness!

maybe it trails (1, Funny)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900540)

how do we know it's "leading by 60 degrees"? Maybe it's trailing by 300!

Re:maybe it trails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900728)

Or maybe the sun is rotating around us...

Re:maybe it trails (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901406)

We and the sun are orbiting the common center of gravity. It's just that that common center of gravity is well inside the sun.

Re:maybe it trails (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901856)

In a word? Vectors.

We know who to blame here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900558)

Way to go Microsoft.

Now even asteroids are trojaned.

Re:We know who to blame here (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900672)

Nope. It's caused by Global Warming, which is caused by man. Everything that happens, or doesn't happen, is caused by Global Warming.

Re:We know who to blame here (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901012)

even if it is a glacier which every 5,000-10,000 years builds itself up, and then melts away. repeating the process over and over again, in some form of cycle that is very hard to understand.

A++ DENIAL. WOULD READ AGAIN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901342)

of course, the vast majority of scientists disagree, but that's probably also "very hard to understand" for you

It's not a Trojan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900696)

It's an artificial monitoring station.

Run Away!!! (3, Funny)

SomewhatRandom (1299167) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900698)

Well, now, uh, Launcelot, Galahad and I, wait until nightfall, and then leap out of the asteroid, taking the French, uh, by suprise. Not only by suprise, but totally unarmed! ...*Who* leaps out?

Re:Run Away!!! (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900794)

damnit. i came here just to make this joke.

Re:Run Away!!! (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900886)

Well, then, go away. I need to se a man about some shrubbery.

Re:Run Away!!! (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901004)

be sure to bring a herring with you. Never know if you'll need one.

Re:Run Away!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901138)

is that a euphemism for your dealer?

Re:Run Away!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901414)

Well, then, go away. I need to se a man about some shrubbery.

What about Bush?

sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900798)

So, would this be a job for TrojanMan?

Obligatory ZZ Top reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900840)

Rumour spreadin' a-'round in that Nerdy town
'bout that Rock inside La Grange
and you know what I'm talkin' about.
Just let me know if you wanna go
to that stone out on the range.
They got no friction out there ah.

Have mercy.
A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw.
A haw, haw, haw.

Well, I hear it's fine if you got the time
and the TK7 to get yourself in.
A hmm, hmm.
And I hear it's tight most ev'ry night,
but now I might be mistaken.
hmm, hmm, hmm.

Ah have mercy.

Trojan Asteroid is that like a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900874)

Trojan Asteroid is that like a prophylactic planet?

you must declassify (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900888)

it appears earth has not cleared its orbit of debris. you must declassify it as a planet now.

Cruithne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36900954)

Cruithne is still cooler.

Don't slow down (1)

sousoux (945907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901032)

In fact. Don't speed up either.

VLBI (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901050)

Who will be the first person to suggest placing VLBI radio telescopes at each lagrange point? Oh I guess it'll be me. A nice heavy asteroid would be convenient for vibration dampening WRT antenna pointing.

The problem is when/if we ever do planetary colonization, those L points will be in high demand for planetary relay satellites, as no matter where any other planet is in its orbit relative to earth's orbit, at least one earth L point should be in view... so what do we want there, sensitive receivers or big ole transmitters? I'm guessing we'll have some kind of scientific "quiet hours" scheme where the scientists get the first second of every minute, first minute of every hour, and first hour of every day, of radio silence. Or maybe they'll just be screwed?

Re:VLBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901658)

The problem is when/if we ever do planetary colonization, those L points will be in high demand for planetary relay satellites, as no matter where any other planet is in its orbit relative to earth's orbit, at least one earth L point should be in view... so what do we want there, sensitive receivers or big ole transmitters?

One of each? Reserve L4 for comms, L5 for astronomy. An array of scopes at every planet's L5 would be an awesome VLBI array; even just 1 Earth and 1 Mars scope would exceed a pair of Earth scopes most of the time, Put your comm stations in orbits about the L4 that are perpendicular to the planet's orbital plane, and high enough to see over the sun most of the time. You've obviously got ground stations on most planets, these can fill in during the brief dropouts as your comm station experiences conjunctions _and_ is near the ecliptic.

Re:VLBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901680)

sorry.. The Corporation will not tolerate such blatant abuse of its property. Get back to work son, you need to fill your mining quota by the end of this work cycle..

Re:VLBI (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901864)

those L points will be in high demand for planetary relay satellites, as no matter where any other planet is in its orbit relative to earth's orbit, at least one earth L point should be in view... so what do we want there, sensitive receivers or big ole transmitters?

Or we could split them up: One Lagrange point for transmitters, one for receivers?

Re:VLBI (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36902050)

All the *radio* astronomy will be done from the "dark" side of the Moon, which will block the radio noise pollution from the Earth.

Gor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901198)

So they finally found Gor. John Norman wrote about it ages ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gor

Re:Gor. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901328)

If this were found at L3, that would sound about right.

Earth downgraded, no longer a planet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901202)

Wasn't clearing it's orbit of other objects one of the conditions of being considered a planet that in part lead to Pluto being downgraded? I strictly mention this because I think the downgrade was silly. They seem to cherry pick conditions with the intent to downgrade Pluto.

Must be a bad communicator... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36901290)

TK7...why aren't you at your post???

Wait, wait, wait (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901932)

Tell me.... Does it have oil?????

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?