Asteroid in Jupiter's orbit goes its own way | Science News

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How Bizarre

Asteroid in Jupiter's orbit goes its own way

Object circles the solar system in the opposite direction as all the planets

By
1:00pm, March 29, 2017
a backwards asteroid orbit

IN REVERSE  Jupiter’s trip around the sun is accompanied by many asteroids (white), which travel in the same direction as the planet. But scientists have found one, Asteroid 2015 BZ509 (green), that orbits backward.

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One of Jupiter’s companions is a bit of a nonconformist.

The gas giant shares its orbit around the sun with a slew of asteroids, but scientists have now discovered one that goes against the flow. It journeys around the solar system in reverse — in the opposite direction of Jupiter and all the other planets. Asteroid 2015 BZ509 is the first object found that orbits in the same region as a planet but travels backward, researchers from Canada and the United States report March 30 in Nature.

The asteroid was discovered with the Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii in 2015, and the researchers made additional observations with the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona.

Backward-going asteroids are rare — only 0.01 percent of known asteroids are in

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