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Earth Trojan asteroid and starfield

Earth Trojan asteroid and starfield

C011/1610

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Credit

NASA / JPL-CALTECH / UCLA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / UCLA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Earth Trojan asteroid and starfield. This is 2010 TK7 (circled in green, lower right), the first Earth Trojan asteroid to be discovered. Trojans are astronomical objects trapped in the Lagrangian points (gravity wells) formed by two larger bodies, in this case the Earth and the Sun. This asteroid is at the L4 Lagrangian point, and was discovered in 2010 by NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of NASA's WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) mission. TK7 is about 300 metres across. Its complicated orbit means its distance from Earth varies. Here it was near its closest approach of around 20 million kilometres.

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