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Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 000, 16 (2011) Printed 1 April 2011 (MN LATEX style file v2.2) A long-lived horseshoe companion to the Earth
 

Summary: Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 000, 16 (2011) Printed 1 April 2011 (MN LATEX style file v2.2)
A long-lived horseshoe companion to the Earth
A. A. Christou1
, D. J. Asher1
1Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG, Northern Ireland, UK
Accepted 2011 February 23; Received 2011 February 9; in original form 2010 December 18
ABSTRACT
We present a dynamical investigation of a newly found asteroid, 2010 SO16, and
the discovery that it is a horseshoe companion of the Earth. The object's absolute
magnitude (H = 20.7) makes this the largest object of its type known to-date. By
carrying out numerical integrations of dynamical clones, we find that (a) its status as a
horseshoe is secure given the current accuracy of its ephemeris, and (b) the time spent
in horseshoe libration with the Earth is several times 105
yr, two orders of magnitude
longer than determined for other horseshoe asteroids of the Earth. Further, using a
model based on Hill's approximation to the three-body problem, we show that, apart
from the low eccentricity which prevents close encounters with other planets or the
Earth itself, its stability can be attributed to the value of its Jacobi constant far
from the regime that allows transitions into other coorbital modes or escape from the
resonance altogether. We provide evidence that the eventual escape of the asteroid

  

Source: Armagh Observatory

 

Collections: Physics