What are Trojan Asteroids?

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What are Trojan Asteroids? Blog Image

Overview:

Recently, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft caught a glimpse of the Jupiter and Trojan asteroids.

About Trojan Asteroids: 

  • These are mysterious space rocks which  have been gravitationally trapped in Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun for billions of years.
  • These are thought to be remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets.
  • They orbit the Sun in two loose groups, with one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its path, and the other trailing behind.
  • They are clustered around the two Lagrange points equidistant from the Sun and Jupiter, the Trojans are stabilized by the Sun and its largest planet in a gravitational balancing act.

Key Facts about Lucy Mission

  • It was launched by NASA from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in 2021.
  • It is a 12-year mission which will take close observations of nine of Jupiter’s Trojans and two main belt asteroids along with that.
  • It is the first spacecraft sent to study the Trojan asteroids, which orbit the Sun in the same path that the planet Jupiter takes.
  • It has recently captured the images of Eurybates, Polymele,  Leucus and  Leucus asteroids.

 


Q1) What is a Lagrange point?

A Lagrange point is a specific point in space where the gravitational forces of two large celestial bodies, such as a planet and its moon, or a planet and the sun, balance out the centrifugal force felt by a third, smaller object.  

Source: NASA’s Lucy captures Jupiter Trojan images for the first time