Journal Article

The dynamics of Neptune Trojans – II. Eccentric orbits and observed objects*

Li-Yong Zhou, Rudolf Dvorak and Yi-Sui Sun

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 410, issue 3, pages 1849-1860
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The dynamics of Neptune Trojans – II. Eccentric orbits and observed objects*

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In a previous paper, we presented a global view of the stability of Neptune Trojans (NTs hereafter) on inclined orbits. As the continuation of the investigation, we discuss in this paper the dependence of the stability of NT orbits on the eccentricity. For this task, high-resolution dynamical maps are constructed using the results of extensive numerical integrations of orbits initialized on fine grids of initial semimajor axis (a0) versus eccentricity (e0). The extensions of regions of stable orbits on the (a0, e0) plane at different inclinations are shown. The maximum eccentricities of stable orbits in the three most stable regions at low (0°, 12°), medium (22°, 36°) and high (51°, 59°) inclination are found to be 0.10, 0.12 and 0.04, respectively. The fine structures in the dynamical maps are described. Via the frequency-analysis method, the mechanisms that portray the dynamical maps are revealed. The secondary resonances, at the frequency of the librating resonant angle λ−λ8 and the frequency of the quasi 2:1 mean-motion resonance (MMR hereafter) between Neptune and Uranus, are found to be deeply involved in the motion of NTs. Secular resonances are detected and they also contribute significantly to the triggering of chaos in the motion. In particular, the effects of the secular resonance ν8, ν18 are clarified.

We also investigate the orbital stabilities of six observed NTs by checking the orbits of hundreds of clones generated within the observing error bars. We conclude that four of them are deeply inside the stable region, with 2001 QR322 and 2005 TO74 being the exceptions. 2001 QR322 is in the close vicinity of the most significant secondary resonance. 2005 TO74 is located close to the boundary separating stable orbits from unstable ones, and it may be influenced by a secular resonance.

Keywords: methods: miscellaneous; celestial mechanics; minor planets, asteroids: general; planets and satellites: individual: Neptune

Journal Article.  8828 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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