Glossary term: Trojans

Description: Trojans are asteroids which orbit the Sun with the same orbit as one of the major planets, but are either one sixth of an orbit ahead of the planet or one sixth of an orbit behind the planet. These points, ahead of the planet and behind it, are two special gravitational points known as Lagrange points 4 and 5. Here a small body can sit stably in its orbit without being kicked around by the gravity of the planet.

The largest groups of trojans in the Solar System are those which share an orbital path with Jupiter. Those which lie 60 degrees ahead of Jupiter are sometimes referred to as Greeks and are named after mythical Greek characters from the Trojan War. Those which are 60 degrees behind Jupiter are named after Trojan characters.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

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