Freaky ‘Active’ Object in Jupiter’s Orbit Is First of Its Kind Seen by Astronomers

2019 LD2 is the first known Jupiter trojan asteroid to display cometary activity with a visible coma and tail, according to a team of astronomers from the University of Hawaii and Queen’s University Belfast.

This image shows the Jupiter trojan asteroid 2019 LD2. Image credit: ATLAS.
Active Trojan asteroid 2019 LD2 as observed on June 11, 2019, using the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) Network in Chile.
Image: JD Armstrong/IfA/LCOGT

It’s neither an asteroid nor a comet but something in between. It’s also parked within Jupiter’s orbit, making this object the first of its kind to ever be detected.

Say hello to 2019 LD2, the only active Jupiter Trojan known to science. Trojans are a large group of asteroids located in the same orbital path as Jupiter, and they’re all dead, inert asteroids—well, except apparently this one, which now boasts a very comet-like tail, according to a press release put out by the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy.

Keep Reading

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.