Inner Solar System dynamical analogs of plutinos

Martin Connors, R. Greg Stacey, Paul Wiegert, Ramon Brasser

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


By studying orbits of asteroids potentially in 3:2 exterior mean motion resonance with Earth, Venus, and Mars, we have found plutino analogs. We identify at least 27 objects in the inner Solar System dynamically protected from encounter through this resonance. These are four objects associated with Venus, six with Earth, and seventeen with Mars. Bodies in the 3:2 exterior resonance (including those in the plutino resonance associated with Neptune) orbit the Sun twice for every three orbits of the associated planet, in such a way that with sufficiently low libration amplitude close approaches to the planet are impossible. As many as 15% of Kuiper Belt objects share the 3:2 resonance, but are poorly observed. One of several resonance sweeping mechanisms during planetary migration is likely needed to explain the origin and properties of 3:2 resonant Kuiper Belt objects. Such a mechanism likely did not operate in the inner Solar System. We suggest that scattering by the next planet out allows entry to, and exit from, 3:2 resonance for objects associated with Venus or Earth. 3:2 resonators of Mars, on the other hand, do not cross the paths of other planets, and have a long lifetime. There may exist some objects trapped in the 3:2 Mars resonance which are primordial, with our tests on the most promising objects known to date indicating lifetimes of at least tens of millions of years. Identifying 3:2 resonant systems in the inner Solar System permits this resonance to be studied on shorter timescales and with better determined orbits than has been possible to date, and introduces new mechanisms for entry into the resonant configuration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-799
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr. 2008


  • Asteroids
  • Celestial mechanics
  • Pluto
  • Resonances
  • dynamics
  • orbital


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