One of Jupiter’s asteroid ‘moons’ is orbiting backwards

» Top New Releases in Books

As a rule, you can safely assume that moons and asteroids will all orbit a planet in the same direction. If they didn’t, interactions with their host would likely send them flying off course. However, it’s now clear that there are exceptions to this rule: researchers have discovered that an asteroid is circling Jupiter in the opposite direction of all planets in the Solar System. These backwards-orbiting rocks are rare anywhere in the system (they represent just 0.01 percent of known asteroids), but this is the very first time one has been caught spinning around a planet. How is it sticking around, then?

In a sense, it’s a matter of luck. The asteroid travels on alternating sides of Jupiter, with one pass reeling it in while another pushes it outward — it’s in just the right trajectory to maintain a yin-yang balance. This is a stable orbit, too, as scientists estimate that the asteroid has been locked to Jupiter’s orbit for about 1 million years.

The finding isn’t completely shocking given the scale of the cosmos (something like this was bound to crop up), but it’s still important. It could help shed new light on how orbits work, and it’s a friendly reminder that space doesn’t always conform to expectations.

Via: ScienceNews

Source: Nature

Engadget RSS Feed

Post Author: martin

Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.