New ‘Earth companion’ located by Alicante-led team

Using the 4.1-meter SOAR (Southern Astrophysical Research) Telescope on Cerro Pachón in Chile, astronomers have confirmed that an asteroid discovered in 2020 by the Pan-STARRS1 survey, called 2020 XL5, is an Earth Trojan (an Earth companion following the same path around the Sun as Earth does) and revealed that it is much larger than the only other Earth Trojan known. In this illustration, the asteroid is shown in the foreground in the lower left. The two bright points above it on the far left are Earth (right) and the Moon (left). The Sun appears on the right. 

A second transient Earth Trojan asteroid has been identified – a space rock that shares its orbit with our planet.

A team of astronomers led by researcher Toni Santana-Ros from Alicante university is behind the discovery of the 2020 XL5.

“The Trojan asteroids could be ideal bases for an advanced exploration of the Solar System,” enthused Sr Santana-Ros.

Full report in Friday’s Costa Blanca News


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