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Detecting Lagrange Moons
#1
If a dark (low albedo), carbonaceous asteroid about 5-10km long was in Earth's L5 point, would it reasonably escape notice by astronomers until the 1960s?
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer
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"Everbody's always in favor of saving Hitler's brain, but when you put it in the body of a great white shark, oh, suddenly you've gone too far." -- Professor Farnsworth, Futurama
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#2
I have no idea but I pretty sure that most of the mapping of asteroids occured in the latter half of the 21st century...
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#3
Cruithne is the closest thing we have to a Lagrangian asteroid - it is 5km long, and was discovered in 1986. So, no. An Earth/Sun Trojan would probably be missed in the 1960s, but we would probably have seen it by now.
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#4
(03-28-2019, 06:47 PM)stevebowers Wrote: Cruithne is the closest thing we have to a Lagrangian asteroid - it is 5km long, and was discovered in 1986. So, no. An Earth/Sun Trojan would probably be missed in the 1960s, but we would probably have seen it by now.

Excellent fit on size and a good example.

But Cruithne never gets closer than 12 million kilometers from Earth. The proposed stealthy asteroid is about 400,000km from Earth.
Mike Miller, Materials Engineer
----------------------

"Everbody's always in favor of saving Hitler's brain, but when you put it in the body of a great white shark, oh, suddenly you've gone too far." -- Professor Farnsworth, Futurama
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#5
I am no astronomer, but my understanding is that a lot of astronomical discoveries have historically come about because of the occultation of some further away object that was being observed by something much closer.

With that in mind, I think the answer to your question might come down to whether or not the asteroid passed in front of something else that was being looked at. Being so close to Earth, it seems to me the odds might be higher that it would pass in front of something else and be detected sooner rather than later (there is also the issue of people deliberately looking in the LaGrange points for asteroids). OTOH, while the volume size you mention is vastly smaller than the rest of the solar system it is still huge in comparison with Earthly scales - so much so that a considerable time might pass before the right set of circumstances came together to result in the detection of the asteroid.

My 2c worth,

Todd
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