Jupiter trojan

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The Jupiter Trojans, commonly called Trojans or Trojan asteroids, are a large group of objects that share the orbit of the planet Jupiter around the Sun. Relative to Jupiter, each Trojan librates around one of the planet's two Lagrangian points of stability, L4 and L5, that respectively lie 60° ahead of and behind the planet in its orbit. Trojan asteroids are distributed in two elongated, curved regions around these Lagrangian points with an average semi-major axis of about 5.2 AU.[1]

The first Trojan discovered, 588 Achilles, was spotted in 1906 by the German astronomer Max Wolf.[2] A total of 4,076 Jupiter Trojans have been found as of February 2010.[3] The term "Trojan" derives from the fact that, by convention, they are each named after a mythological figure from the Trojan War. The total number of Jupiter Trojans larger than 1 km in diameter is believed to be about 1 million, approximately equal to the number of asteroids larger than 1 km in the main asteroid belt.[1] Like main belt asteroids, Trojans form families.[4]

Jupiter Trojans are dark bodies with reddish, featureless spectra. No firm evidence of the presence of water, organic matter or other chemical compounds on their surfaces has been obtained. The Trojans' densities (as measured by studying binaries or rotational lightcurves) vary from 0.8 to 2.5 g·cm−3.[4] Trojans are thought to have been captured into their orbits during the early stages of the Solar System's formation or slightly later, during the migration of giant planets.[4]

The term "Trojan" has come to be used more generally to refer to other small Solar System bodies with similar relationships to larger bodies: for example, there are both Mars Trojans and Neptune Trojans, and Saturn has Trojan moons.[Note 1] The term "Trojan asteroid" is normally understood to specifically mean the Jupiter Trojans since the first Trojans were discovered near Jupiter's orbit and Jupiter currently has by far the most known Trojans.[3]


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