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Space Science

First Earth Trojan Asteroid Discovered 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the little-brother dept.
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."
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First Earth Trojan Asteroid Discovered

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  • Trojans! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @02:56PM (#36900434)

    ... the very first Earth Trojan asteroid,

    Curse its sudden but inevitable betrayal.

  • L4 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stavr0 (35032)

    This one should be called 'Lagrange'

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      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.

    • 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 (Score:4, Informative)

      by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @05:09PM (#36901866) Journal
      It must be quite the asteroid to have an entire planet in it's L5 Lagrange point.
    • Yup, I'm with you and Clarke. This is an L4 object, 60 degrees ahead of us.
  • 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.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @03:00PM (#36900484)

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

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @03:00PM (#36900490) Homepage
    I like the proposed names of Coeus or Crius, the sons of Gaia for those who didn't RTFA, that that author suggests.
  • by dastrike (458983) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @03:02PM (#36900508) Homepage

    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!

    • I've always suspected that Earth has some additional tiny moons that haven't been discovered yet -- but my professors always pooh-poohed that idea, without really giving a good reason why.

      Now it turns out that an Earth Trojan has gone undetected until now. This strengthens my belief that Earth has some miniature natural satellites awaiting discovery.

  • When did it get there?
    • by Dthief (1700318)
      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.
  • If it's a Trojan asteroid, does that mean it's full of space Greeks?!!!
    • What's scarier is that it could be full of space Spartans.

      This is madness!
      THIS. IS. SPAAAAAACE!
    • by c0lo (1497653)

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

      No, it just means that Earth hasn't updated its antivirus (and, possibly, has a nasty habit of visiting promiscuous sites on the Internet).

    • by bursch-X (458146)
      If it's space greeks they could be dangerous being all broke and such, could turn them into space pirates
  • how do we know it's "leading by 60 degrees"? Maybe it's trailing by 300!
  • Run Away!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by SomewhatRandom (1299167) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @03:18PM (#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?

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @03:47PM (#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?

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      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?

    • All the *radio* astronomy will be done from the "dark" side of the Moon, which will block the radio noise pollution from the Earth.
    • by Nethead (1563)

      Damn! Now I have an intense urge to put a 2m ham repeater at L4.

      • by psydeshow (154300)

        Damn! Now I have an intense urge to put a 2m ham repeater at L4.

        Hell, I have an intense urge to park a Winnebago at L4.

  • THIS IS SLASHDOT!
  • Why is it 50 million miles away? If it's at a Lagrange point, at 60 degrees offset, shouldn't it be 93 million miles away?
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      It's *almost* an equilateral triangle, if the earth's mass were totally negligible then it would be perfect e. triangle. Don't forget the earth-sun distance varies too, in elliptical orbit case you get lagrange area rather than point you get with circle.

  • Does this mean Earth is no longer a planet like Pluto?

    Planet requirements:
    1. It needs to be in orbit around the Sun. (Check)
    2. It needs to have enough gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape. (Check)
    3. It needs to have “cleared the neighborhood” of its orbit. (Uh oh! Pluto doesn't satisfy this requirement and apparently now Earth doesn't either!)

    Obviously I jest, but I do find it funny.

    • by Myopic (18616)

      Yes, jests are fun. But seriously, it would depend on how many decimal places before you agree to round up to "swept out". I think most people would be willing to round up in this case, but not in Pluto's.

    • by syousef (465911)

      That is because the IAU passed an IDIOTIC politically motivated definition defined by a committee of washed out has-been scientists, that made absolutely no sense neither scientifically nor in the lay vernacular.

      By this definition
      - no extra-solar planet is actually a planet, since they don't orbit the Sun (aka Sol, OUR star). Why they couldn't replace "sun" with "parent star" or "primary graviationally bound star" is beyond me.
      - a dwarf planet is not a planet either. (They needed to use another name for wha

  • The Trojan asteroid now comes with a fire & ice sensation.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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