Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

(385250) 2001 DH47

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Discovered by  Spacewatch
MPC designation  2001 DH47
Observation arc  5521 days (15.12 yr)
Discovery date  20 February 2001
Minor planet category  Martian L5
(385250) 2001 DH47

Aphelion  1.5767436 AU (235.87749 Gm)

(385250) 2001 DH47, also written as 2001 DH47, is a small asteroid orbiting near the L5 point of Mars (60 degrees behind Mars on its orbit).


Discovery, orbit and physical properties

2001 DH47 was discovered on February 1, 2001 by the Spacewatch program, observing from Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak and classified as Mars-crosser by the Minor Planet Center. Its orbit is characterized by low eccentricity (0.035), moderate inclination (24.4º) and a semi-major axis of 1.52 AU. Its orbit is well determined as it is currently (March 2013) based on 45 observations with a data-arc span of 3,148 days. It has an absolute magnitude of 19.7 which gives a characteristic diameter of 562 m.

Mars trojan and orbital evolution

It was identified as Mars trojan by H. Scholl, F. Marzari and P. Tricarico in 2005 and its dynamical half-lifetime was found to be of the order of the age of the Solar System. Recent calculations confirm that it is indeed a stable L5 Mars trojan with a libration period of 1365 yr and an amplitude of 11°. These values as well as its short-term orbital evolution are very similar to those of 5261 Eureka.


Long-term numerical integrations show that its orbit is very stable on Gyr time-scales (1 Gyr = 1 billion years). As in the case of Eureka, calculations in both directions of time (4.5 Gyr into the past and 4.5 Gyr into the future) indicate that 2001 DH47 may be a primordial object, perhaps a survivor of the planetesimal population that formed in the terrestrial planets region early in the history of the Solar System.


(385250) 2001 DH47 Wikipedia