Space rock shares orbit with planet Uranus: study
This 2006 image provided by NASA shows an image of Uranus with its moon Ariel, small white sphere, made by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Published Sunday, September 1, 2013 8:41PM EDT
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune all have traveling companions - space rocks that share the planets' orbits as they circle the sun.
Now scientists have discovered one that tags along with Uranus. About 38 miles wide, the icy rock runs ahead of the planet.
The object was first spotted in 2011 by a group of Canadian and French scientists led by the University of British Columbia. The team reported the discovery in Friday's issue of Science.
Some 6,000 space rocks are known to follow Jupiter, the most of any planet. Earth shares its orbit with a tiny asteroid.
Scientists say the latest find looks like an asteroid, but its makeup is similar to a comet. A million years from now, the rock will escape back into the outer solar system.