Although 2020 XL5 is expected to remain in its current configuration for at least another 4,000 years, it is still only a temporary neighbor. Asteroids that are in stable orbits for longer could help scientists learn more about what the Solar System looked like in the past, Devogèle says. But it is difficult to find Earth Trojans because observing objects captured at the Lagrange points requires pointing telescopes near to the sun.

“The next steps are to continue searching for other Earth Trojan asteroids. We hope to find an object that has been in a stable Earth-sharing orbit for millions or billions of years,” Devogèle says. “They could hold a lot of secrets.”

Devogèle joined the Arecibo Observatory in 2019. He has multiple degrees including a doctorate in planetary sciences from Nice University in France and a doctorate in sciences from Liege University. He currently has observation times on the Calern Observatory in France and the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. He is a native of Belgium and has more than 24 published journal articles.