The IBT (and a bunch of other news outlets) are making this discovery – an asteroid that’s been orbiting Earth – are making it sound like a deadly trick. When really the little hunk of rock has just following us around for thousands of years and seeing if we notice it:
Trojan asteroids share orbits with other planets in our Solar System to include Neptune, Mars and Jupiter. Two of Saturn’s moons share orbits with Trojans, according to NASA.
Scientists have long predicted that Earth has Trojans, but they were hard to find because they are small and from Earth’s point of view, they appear near the sun.
“These asteroids dwell mostly in the daylight, making them very hard to see,” said Martin Connors of Athabasca University in Canada, lead author of a new paper on the discovery. “But we finally found one, because the object has an unusual orbit that takes it farther away from the sun than what is typical for Trojans.”
“It’s as though Earth is playing follow the leader,” said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NEOWISE at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Earth always is chasing this asteroid around.”