A thick cloud of neptune trojans and their colors

Scott S. Sheppard, Chadwick A. Trujillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


The dynamical and physical properties of asteroids offer one of the few constraints on the formation, evolution, and migration of the giant planets. Trojan asteroids share a planet's semimajor axis but lead or follow it by about 60° near the two triangular Lagrangian points of gravitational equilibrium. Here we report the discovery of a high-inclination Neptune Trojan, 2005 TN 53. This discovery demonstrates that the Neptune Trojan population occupies a thick disk, which is indicative of "freeze-in" capture instead of in situ or collisional formation. The Neptune Trojans appear to have a population that is several times larger than the Jupiter Trojans. Our color measurements show that Neptune Trojans have statistically indistinguishable slightly red colors, which suggests that they had a common formation and evolutionary history and are distinct from the classical Kuiper Belt objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-514
Number of pages4
Issue number5786
StatePublished - Jul 28 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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