Discovery of an asteroid and quasi-satellite in an Earth-like horseshoe orbit

Martin Connors, Paul Chodas, Seppo Mikkola, Paul Wiegert, Christian Veillet, Kimmo Innanen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The newly discovered asteroid 2002 AA29 moves in a very Earth-like orbit that relative to Earth has a unique horseshoe shape and allows transitions to a quasi-satellite state. This is the first body known to be in a simple heliocentric horseshoe orbit, moving along its parent planet's orbit. It is similarly also the first true co-orbital object of Earth, since other asteroids in 1:1 resonance with Earth have orbits very dissimilar from that of our planet. When a quasi-satellite, it remains within 0.2 AU of the Earth for several decades. 2002 AA29 is the first asteroid known to exhibit this behavior. 2002 AA29 introduces an important new class of objects offering potential targets for space missions and clues to asteroid orbit transfer evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1441
Number of pages7
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct. 2002


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