Detection of a Trailing (L5) Neptune Trojan

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Science  10 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5997, pp. 1304
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189666

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The orbits of small Solar System bodies record the history of our Solar System. Here, we report the detection of 2008 LC18, which is a Neptune Trojan in the trailing (L5) Lagrangian region of gravitational equilibrium within Neptune’s orbit. We estimate that the leading and trailing Neptune Trojan regions have similarly sized populations and dynamics, with both regions dominated by high-inclination objects. Similar populations and dynamics at both Neptune Lagrangian regions indicate that the Trojans were likely captured by a migrating, eccentric Neptune in a dynamically excited planetesimal population.

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