In a first, coexisting 'Trojan Planets' found in same orbit
Jupiter-sized Trojan planets are found in the same orbit around the same star. Read on to know more.
According to recent research, Trojan planets that are the same size as Jupiter, which are orbiting around the same star, have been found for the first time.
According to Live Science report, the new discovery is located around 370 light-years from Earth. Scientists believe that they must be debris of a shattered dead planet or they might be building blocks of a new one.
For about two decades, the existence of Trojan planets with shared orbits around a star has been a subject of speculation among astronomers. This momentous discovery has the potential to unravel the mysteries of planetary system formation.
"Two decades ago it was predicted in theory that pairs of planets of similar mass may share the same orbit around their star, the so-called Trojan or co-orbital planets. For the first time, we have found evidence in favour of that idea," lead author Olga Balsalobre-Ruza, a graduate student at the Center for Astrobiology (CAB) in Madrid, Spain, said in a statement.
The Trojan Planets' discovery
According to the study published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal, the term "Trojan planets" is derived from the two asteroid clusters observed near Jupiter, which were known as Greeks and Trojans, reflecting the opposing sides of the legendary Trojan War in Homer's Iliad. This classification was determined by their positioning relative to Jupiter's stable Lagrange points.
The two planets and cloud dust were discovered at the Lagrange point with the aid of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a network of radio telescopes in Chile.
According to researchers, there is an equilibrium region where the gravitational forces of the larger planet and the star compensate for the motion of the minor planet as the smaller planet tries to intrude on the larger planet's orbit.
Although to confirm the findings, the researchers have to wait until 2026, whenever the next window opens to verify that PDS 70b and Trojan have moved together. If this came out to be true, it will be a great discovery.
What are Trojan Planets?
Asteroids or other minor celestial bodies that orbit near to Jupiter's Lagrangian points and share an orbit with a larger body are commonly referred to as trojans. Trojans are co-orbital objects because they can share the orbits of planets or big moons. The majority of Trojans that are known to exist in the Solar System orbit Jupiter.