Scientists offer a new explanation for a mystery surrounding Jupiter's two massive asteroid swarms.

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The L4 and L5 Jupiter Trojan swarms are two clusters containing more than 10,000 asteroids that move along Jupiter's orbital path around the sun. The team of scientists, which includes NYU Abu Dhabi researcher Nikolaos Georgakarakos and others from the U.S., Japan, and China, is led by Jian Li from Nanjing University. They have developed new insights that may explain the numerical asymmetry of these clusters.

Scientists have known for many years that the L4 swarm contains a great deal more asteroids than the L5 swarm, but they are still unsure of the cause of this imbalance. The two swarms exhibit almost similar dynamical stability and survivorship characteristics in the solar system's present form, which has prompted researchers to speculate that the discrepancies were created earlier in the solar system's history. Finding the reason for these variations may provide new information about the creation and development of the solar system.

The researchers describe a method that explains the observed number imbalance in their work, "Asymmetry in the number of L4 and L5 Jupiter Trojans driven by leaping Jupiter," which was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Li said, "We suggest that a quick Jupiter migration outward in terms of distance to the sun may change the shape of the Trojan swarms, leading to more stable orbits in the L4 swarm than in the L5 one.

The impartial fact that the L4 asteroids are around 1.6 times greater than the asteroids in the L5 swarm has a fresh, logical explanation thanks to this process, which momentarily forced divergent development pathways for the two asteroid groups that circle Jupiter.

The model recreates Jupiter's orbital development as a result of an early solar system planetary orbital instability. As a result, Jupiter moved extremely quickly in a direction away from the Sun, which the researchers believe may have changed the stability of the neighboring asteroid swarms. By integrating more facets of the solar system's history, future models might build on this research and more accurately portray the process. This may include replicating Jupiter's rapid migrations at various speeds as well as the impacts of neighbouring planets.

According to Georgakarakos, the properties of the existing solar system include unanswered questions about its early history and creation.

"As astrophysicists and other academics try to discover more about the start of our planet, the capacity to effectively mimic an event from an early period of the solar system's evolution and apply those conclusions to modern-day problems may also be a crucial tool."

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