Jupiter shepherding the asteroid belt, preventing them falling in towards the inner planets (X-post from /r/oddlysatisfying)


Jupiter shepherding the asteroid belt, preventing them falling in towards the inner planets (X-post from /r/oddlysatisfying)

Recommended For You

About the Author: livescience

4 Comments

  1. And here I was thinking the asteroid belt was a nice, even circle. I actually had no idea it was like this.

  2. These are not actually part of the asteroid belt. The big green clumps shown here are trojan asteroids riding the gravitational eddies of Jupiter’s Lagrange points that form from its interaction with the Sun. The red are Hilda asteroids which IIRC aren’t considered part of the belt either.

    EDIT: also, the red that clumps towards the opposite side of the Sun from Jupiter is at another of Jupiter’s Lagrange points. I don’t know exactly why they form a triangle, but I’d be willing to bet Lagrange points play a role in it.

  3. This is a cool gif. So as the others were saying, the green asteroids are collectively called [trojans](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_trojan), although the group that’s ahead of Jupiter are more precisely called the *Greeks* while the ones behind Jupiter are the *Trojans* proper.

    The trojans inhabit the vicinity of the Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5 [Lagrangian points](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point).

    The red ones are the [Hilda group](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilda_family) asteroids which are in a 3:2 orbital resonance with Jupiter. They, too, are influenced by the L4 and L5 points as well as the L3 point opposite of Jupiter, one of which they pass through in sequence with every orbit. The triangular orbits are a consequence of this [resonance](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_resonance).

    Note: I’m having trouble distinguishing the colors, so I’m taking what other commenters were saying as the correct colors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *