2001 QR322 – an update on Neptune’s first unstable Trojan companion

Horner, Jonti and Lykawka, Patryk Sofia (2016) 2001 QR322 – an update on Neptune’s first unstable Trojan companion. In: 15th Australian Space Research Conference (ASRC 2015), 29 Sept - 1 Oct 2015, Canberra, Australia.

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The Neptune Trojans are the most recent addition to the panoply of Solar system small body populations. The orbit of the first discovered member, 2001 QR322, was investigated shortly after its discovery, based on early observations of the object, and it was found to be dynamically stable on timescales comparable to the age of the Solar system. As further observations were obtained of the object over the following years, the best-fit solution for its orbit changed. We therefore carried out a new study of 2001 QR322’s orbit in 2010, finding that it lay on the boundary between dynamically stable and unstable regions in Neptune’s Trojan cloud, and concluding that further observations were needed to determine the true stability of the object’s orbit. Here we follow up on that earlier work, and present the preliminary results of a dynamical study using an updated fit to 2001 QR322’s orbit. Despite the improved precision with which the orbit of 2001 QR322 is known, we find that the best-fit solution remains balanced on a knife-edge, lying between the same regions of stability and instability noted in our earlier work. In the future, we intend to carry out new observations that should hopefully refine the orbit to an extent that its true nature can finally be disentangled.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2016 National Space Society of Australia Ltd. No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit of Accepted version.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2016 03:53
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2017 00:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: Neptune Trojans; solar system formation; solar system evolution; Centaurs; comets; 2001 QR322; dynamical methods
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020108 Planetary Science (excl. Extraterrestrial Geology)
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020101 Astrobiology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/28915

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