2008 LC18
is a Neptune trojan
Neptune Trojan
Neptune trojans are Kuiper belt object-like bodies in solar orbit that have the same orbital period as Neptune and follow roughly the same orbital path...

 discovered on June 7, 2008, by Scott S. Sheppard
Scott S. Sheppard
Scott S. Sheppard is an astronomer in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Starting as a graduate student at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, he was credited with the discovery of many small moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and...

 and Chad Trujillo
Chad Trujillo
Chadwick A. "Chad" Trujillo is an astronomer and the co-discoverer of the dwarf planet Eris.Trujillo works with computer software and has examined the orbits of the numerous trans-Neptunian objects , which is the outer area of the solar system that he specialized in. In late August 2005, it was...

 using the Subaru telescope. It was the seventh such object to be discovered, as well as the first to be found in the region of the trailing Lagrangian point
Lagrangian point
The Lagrangian points are the five positions in an orbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be stationary relative to two larger objects...

 about 60 degrees behind Neptune. It has the same orbital period as Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...


It has an inclination
Inclination in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of direction.-Orbits:The inclination is one of the six orbital parameters describing the shape and orientation of a celestial orbit...

 of 27.5 degrees. As of August 2010, this is the second highest inclination of any known Neptune trojan.

With an absolute magnitude
Absolute magnitude
Absolute magnitude is the measure of a celestial object's intrinsic brightness. it is also the apparent magnitude a star would have if it were 32.6 light years away from Earth...

 of 8.4, it has a diameter estimated at ~100 km.

The discovery of Neptune's L5 trojans has been impeded by the fact that they are in a region of space along the line-of-sight to the center of our galaxy, an area of the sky crowded with stars. 2008 LC18 was found in a location where background stars are obscured by a dust cloud
A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas, helium gas and other ionized gases...

. 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 swarm.

2008 LC18 will not be close enough for investigation by the New Horizons
New Horizons
New Horizons is a NASA robotic spacecraft mission currently en route to the dwarf planet Pluto. It is expected to be the first spacecraft to fly by and study Pluto and its moons, Charon, Nix, Hydra and S/2011 P 1. Its estimated arrival date at the Pluto-Charon system is July 14th, 2015...

 spacecraft when it crosses Neptune's L5 region en route to Pluto
Pluto, formal designation 134340 Pluto, is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun...

 in 2013–2014, but its discovery shows that other, more accessible Neptune trojans could potentially be found before that time. 2008 LC18 will cross the ecliptic plane
Plane of the ecliptic
The plane of the ecliptic is the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. It is the primary reference plane when describing the position of bodies in the Solar System, with celestial latitude being measured relative to the ecliptic plane. In the course of a year, the Sun's apparent path through...

in 2011.

External links

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