2008 LC18


2008 LC18
Discovery [1][2]
Discovered by
Discovery siteMauna Kea Obs.
Discovery date7 June 2008
2008 LC18
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 5
Observation arc4.12 yr (1,506 days)
Aphelion32.445 AU
Perihelion27.667 AU
30.056 AU
164.78 yr (60,186 days)
0° 0m 21.6s / day
Physical characteristics

2008 LC18 is a Neptune trojan first observed on 7 June 2008 by American astronomers Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo using the Subaru telescope at Mauna Kea Observatories on Hawaii, United States.[6] It was the first object found in Neptune's trailing L5 Lagrangian point and measures approximately 100 kilometers in diameter.[5]

Orbit and classification

Neptune trojans are resonant trans-Neptunian objects in a 1:1 mean-motion orbital resonance with Neptune. These trojans have a semi-major axis and an orbital period very similar to Neptune's (30.10 AU; 164.8 years).

2008 LC18 belongs to the trailing L5 group, which follow 60° behind Neptune's orbit. It orbits the Sun with a semi-major axis of 30.056 AU at a distance of 27.7–32.4 AU once every 164 years and 9 months (60,186 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.08 and an inclination of 27.4° with respect to the ecliptic.[1] This object has the second highest inclination of any known Neptune trojan after 2011 HM102, which has 29.3°.[3]

Search for Neptune trojans

The search for L5 trojans of Neptune has been impeded by the fact that this region of space is currently along the line of sight to the center of the Milky Way, an area of the sky crowded with stars. 2008 LC18 was found in a location where background stars are obscured by a dust cloud.[6][5] The discovery of one Neptune L5 trojan in a searched area of 19 square degrees suggests that there may be 150 Neptune L5 trojans with a diameter greater than ~80 km (24th magnitude), similar to the estimate of such objects in Neptune's L4 swarm.[6]

New Horizons probe

2008 LC18 was not close enough for investigation by the New Horizons spacecraft when it crossed Neptune's L5 region en route to Pluto in 2013–2014, but its discovery showed that other, more accessible Neptune trojans could potentially have been found before that time.[7] 2008 LC18 was 2 AU from Pluto in 1997.[8] 2008 LC18 crossed the ecliptic plane in 2011. As of 2016, it is 33 AU from Neptune.

Physical characteristics

The discoverers estimate that the body has a mean-diameter of 100 kilometers based on a magnitude of 23.2.[5][6] Based on a generic magnitude-to-diameter conversion, it measures approximately 98 kilometers in diameter using an absolute magnitude of 8.2 with an assumed albedo of 0.10.[4]

Numbering and naming

Due to its orbital uncertainty, this minor planet has not been numbered and its official discoverers have not been determined.[1][2] If named, it will follow the naming scheme already established with 385571 Otrera, which is to name these objects after figures related to the Amazons, an all-female warrior tribe that fought in the Trojan War on the side of the Trojans against the Greek.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2008 LC18)" (2012-07-22 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "2008 LC18". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "List Of Neptune Trojans". Minor Planet Center. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Asteroid Size Estimator". CNEOS/JPL. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lakdawalla, Emily (13 August 2010). "2008 LC15, the first Trojan asteroid discovered in Neptune's L5 point". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Sheppard, Scott S.; Trujillo, Chadwick A. (September 2010). "Detection of a Trailing (L5) Neptune Trojan". Science. 329 (5997): 1304. Bibcode:2010Sci...329.1304S. doi:10.1126/science.1189666. PMID 20705814. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Reaching the Mid-Mission Milestone on the Way to Pluto!". New Horizons : The PI's Perspective. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  8. ^ 2008 LC18 at JPL Horizons Change "Observer Location" to @Pluto
  9. ^ Ticha, J.; et al. (10 April 2018). "DIVISION F / Working Group for Small Body Nomenclature Working Group for Small Body Nomenclature. THE TRIENNIAL REPORT (2015 Sept 1 - 2018 Feb 15)" (PDF). IAU. Retrieved 25 August 2018.

External links

  • AstDys-2 about 2008 LC18
  • Scott Sheppard and the hunt for Neptune Trojans on YouTube (time 1:40 min.)
  • 2008 LC18 at AstDyS-2, Asteroids—Dynamic Site
    • Ephemeris · Observation prediction · Orbital info · Proper elements · Observational info
  • 2008 LC18 at the JPL Small-Body Database
    • Close approach · Discovery · Ephemeris · Orbit diagram · Orbital elements · Physical parameters