Wow! Earth has just found a new neighbor, a Trojan ASTEROID! It will stay here for 4000 years

Researchers have found Earth’s second Trojan asteroid and it is much larger than the first.

11 years after the discovery of the first trojan asteroid 2010 TK7, researchers have confirmed the existence of a second trojan asteroid for Earth. This new trojan asteroid has been named 2020 XL5 and is three times larger than the first. Spread over 1.2 kilometers in diameter, this asteroid could serve as the perfect space base to launch space exploration missions in the solar system. This discovery was made after observations from the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, which is part of NOIRLab’s Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Astronomers found the asteroid in 2020 by looking through the sky very close to the horizon at sunrise.

Finally, on February 1, 2022, researchers published their findings and confirmed the existence of the 2nd Trojan asteroid for Earth. So, what is a Trojan asteroid? A Trojan asteroid is an asteroid that travels around the sun in orbit around another planet. For Earth, these asteroids are often placed in Lagrange points. Lagrange points are gravitational spots between the Earth and the Sun in Earth’s orbit where the force of both bodies is equal and opposite and any space rock trapped there will move in the same orbit, fixed in the same position. Earth has 5 such Lagrange points, meaning there could be more Trojan asteroids. However, these asteroids are very difficult to spot due to the odd angles of their location.

Earth Trojan Asteroids: Details

The asteroid was first discovered on December 12, 2020 by the Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope in Hawaii. But when it was first discovered, it was not known whether it was a near-earth object (NEO) traversing our home planet or a Trojan asteroid. To gain a better understanding, the asteroid was tracked in SOAR’s archive footage from 2012 to 2019 and the asteroid 2020 XL5 could be seen in the same position over the years. These archival images were part of the Dark Energy Survey, and while it didn’t yield many results, it did lead to this astonishing discovery.

But what does this discovery mean for us? Well, its size was the biggest reason to rejoice. With a diameter of 1.2 kilometers, the asteroid can support space missions and act as a refueling point and can even be used as an observatory for further space exploration. While the potential is great, more observation and research on asteroid 2020 XL5 is needed before we can take the next step in this direction.

Arun Agarwal
I am Arun Agarwal, a passionate blogger and gamer. I love to share my thoughts on games and technology through blog posts. I’m also an avid reader of books about history, philosophy, science-fiction, and other genres as well as an anime fan. I like reading books that give me new perspectives or help me think differently about the world around us.