Faculty Advisor

Iannacchione, Germano S.


The Hilda group is a collection of asteroids located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter that are characterized by a mean motion resonance of 3:2 with Jupiter (for every 2 orbits of Jupiter each Hilda orbits 3 times around the Sun). The orbital characteristics of the Hildas are believed to have resulted from Jupiter's migration sunward during the formation of the Solar System. The orbital characteristics examined in this study included average semi-major axis, eccentricity, and the amplitude of the resonant angle of the orbit, or libration angle. Jupiter's motion and the resulting interaction with the simulated Hildas, or test particles, was modeled using a symplectic map for the n-body problem developed by Dr. Matthew Holman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Simulations were conducted for changes in Jupiter's semi-major axis sunward between 0.0 and 1.0 AU, timescales between 10? and 10 years, and over a period of 2x10 years. Simulations in which Jupiter migrated sunward 0.6 AU to its current position for a timescale of 10 years proved to best replicate the current Hilda group's orbital characteristics.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002


Mechanical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department