A retrograde co-orbital asteroid of Jupiter

Paul Wiegert, Martin Connors, Christian Veillet

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Recent theoretical work in celestial mechanics has revealed that an asteroid may orbit stably in the same region as a planet, despite revolving around the Sun in the sense opposite to that of the planet itself. Asteroid 2015 BZ 509 was discovered in 2015, but with too much uncertainty in its measured orbit to establish whether it was such a retrograde co-orbital body. Here we report observations and analysis that demonstrates that asteroid 2015 BZ 509 is indeed a retrograde co-orbital asteroid of the planet Jupiter. We find that 2015 BZ 509 has long-term stability, having been in its current, resonant state for around a million years. This is long enough to preclude precise calculation of the time or mechanism of its injection to its present state, but it may be a Halley-family comet that entered the resonance through an interaction with Saturn. Retrograde co-orbital asteroids of Jupiter and other planets may be more common than previously expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-689
Number of pages3
Issue number7647
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar. 2017


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