Asteroid 2010 SO16, discovered earlier telescope WISE, moves almost exactly on the Earth’s orbit and may be a “brother” of the Earth – one of a group of protoplanetary celestial bodies, from which it emerged, according to astronomers from the Northern Ireland Observatory Armag. For the first time an asteroid was spotted in 2010 SO16 Infrared Space Observatory WISE September 17, 2010. Then it was “spotted” by terrestrial telescopes. Attracted the attention of astronomers, the fact that the average distance from the asteroid to the Sun was equal distance from the Earth to the Sun.”But what really impressed me at the moment – this is how it was similar to the orbit of the Earth” – says astronomer Apostolos Christ.
Most asteroids near Earth (NEA), have very elongated orbits, SO16 but has a nearly circular orbit, and therefore can not converge to any other planet except Earth.Astronomers have decided to establish how stable the orbit of this asteroid, and how long it takes her. It was necessary to establish an orbit with high accuracy, a process that usually takes years of observations. Scientists decided to shorten this period by computer simulation. They created a mathematical “clones” asteroid, distributing them over all orbits that could correspond to the observed state of affairs, and then follow their evolution under gravity of the Sun and the Earth 2 million years into the future, and 2 million years into the past.As it turned out, all the “clones” are continually changing in its orbit relative to Earth, moving along a trajectory resembling a horseshoe, and the cycle of movement from one end of the horseshoe to the other takes 175 years.Although the orbit of SO16 is very similar to Earth, but the asteroid is suffering “terrafobiey” and never comes close to our planet closer than 50 the distance from Earth to the Moon.At present, scientists know three more asteroids, which move in a horseshoe, but, unlike in SO16, they linger in this orbit at most a few thousand years, and then slip into the other’s orbit. In addition, SO16 diameter of 200-400 meters, making it the largest among the “podkovnyh” brethren. Astronomers have considered three hypotheses about the origin of the asteroid. On the one hand, SO16 can be “normal” asteroid, “pushed” from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. In this case, the disorderly effects of gravity of different planets must have been like to bring him to Earth orbit, which, according to the study’s authors, is unlikely.Another assumption is that SO16 is a chip, which broke away from the Moon and, overcoming the gravity of the Moon-Earth, was released on their own journey around the sun. However, the stability of the asteroid’s orbit indicates that it has never “run away” from the moon. Scientists have stopped at the third hypothesis that SO16 can be representative of the population of the heavenly bodies, which are 4.5 billion years ago have become the building blocks of the Earth and Moon. According to the theory, two clusters of “construction debris” should be on the earth’s orbit 60 degrees ahead and behind the planet, according RIA-Novosti.