2010 KT7 orbits around Earth's orbit
Reading aloud Explorers have identified a new permanent companion of the Earth: 2010 TK7 is the first confirmed Earth Trojan and leads Earth on its restless voyage around the Sun. Scientists have also discovered how the small asteroid behaves relative to Earth orbit. Jupiter has nearly 5, 000 Trojans. These are minor planets that are in orbit, or more precisely, they are orbiting around their orbit. In the meantime, they keep a distance to Jupiter from a 60-degree angle to the sun? they are on one of the so-called Lagrange points. For a long time astronomers have been searching for similar companions of our earth. Now could they make one out? 2010 KT7.

Although the small planet with a diameter of 300 meters comparatively close to the earth, its existence was difficult to prove. Because for earthly viewers, Trojans are always sunward in space, so they stand almost exclusively on the daytime side of our planet. Recently, however, a technique has been available that makes the search much easier: With the help of the WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) infrared telescope, astronomers were able to identify 500 near-earth objects. In addition to the 2010 SO16, which was described in more detail in April, this also included KT7 as another potential candidate in 2010. Based on his positions on different shots, the international team now calculated his orbit. According to this, 2010 KT7 has lingered in a kind of semicircle around the orbit of our earth for at least 10, 000 years. For a whole orbit the small planet needs 395 years.

Based on these findings, the researchers were also able to spot KT7 in 2010 with a telescope on Earth.

Martin Connors (University of Alberta, Canada) et. al .: Nature, Vol. 475, p. 481, doi: 10.1038 / nature10233 wissenschaft.de - Marion Martin Anzeige

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