I saw a thread here
on ATS on about a Trojan asteroid that tags around with us in space
but I did not notice any articles on Horseshoe orbits, since all the hubbub around "dark planets" and mysterious orbits I though it interesting to
get a couple of thoughts about the truly bizzare behavior of a couple of odd little rocks
First are two of the moons of Saturn that share the same orbit:
Epimetheus and Janus
The planetary society in 2006 listed the moons as trading orbits
inner and outer orbit positions (only 50km apart), but this appears to be incorrect as further observation suggest a much weirder relationship.
It would appear that they form two horseshoe shapes on the same orbit and they both spend some time as retrograde objects:
It's frankly It's a bit hard to encompass as it just seems to "fragile", but it's not alone:
Enter 2002 AA29
This crazy little rock has a 95 year period and is often called the first true co-orbital companion of the Earth, but wait it gets weirder:
" (from wiki)...2002 AA29 is not always ...on its horseshoe orbit (it) can sometimes slip out of this pattern. This will next happen in about 600
years.... It will then stay within the small gap in the Earth’s orbit which it does not reach in its previous horseshoe orbit, and will be no
further than 0.2 astronomical units (30 million km) away from the Earth. There it will slowly circle the Earth almost like a second Moon, although it
takes one year for a circuit. After 45 years it finally switches back into the horseshoe orbit."
It also has enough spin so that it's centripetal acceleration outstrips it's gravity so it "..cannot possibly have been built up from individual
small pieces, as these would be thrown apart by the rapid rotation.."
Cool, so my questions are how many of you knew about this type of thing? do you know of more? Is wiki wrong?
HOW THE HELL DID THEY EVER POSSIBLY GET INTO THOSE ORBITS ( especially 2002 aa29 ) , and if this can happen in a three body system what other non
elliptical orbits might be possible for 4, 5 6, etc body systems ?