I'm conducting research on solar system dynamics, and found a list of asteroids in retrograde orbits, but none about the ones orbiting perpendicular to the ecliptic plane. Are there any detailed lists about such bodies, and where can I find them?

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    $\begingroup$ Coincidentally, recent news reports discovery of a star with planets both in the ecliptic and nearly $\frac{\pi}{2}$ off the ecliptic. How that happened remains a mystery at this time. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2021 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft I never noticed that, thanks for letting me know! $\endgroup$
    – WarpPrime
    Nov 8, 2021 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ Wikipeida has a list of asteroids with highly inclinde orbits. including one at 91 degrees that is essentially in a polar orbit. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Nov 8, 2021 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


To have an orbit perpendicular to the ecliptic plane, it would need to have an inclination of exactly 90 degrees. Orbits with inclination less than 90 degrees are prograde, and with greater are retrograde.

enter image description here

Asteroids with inclinations even close to perpendicular to the ecliptic are rare since:

  1. Most of the matter rotating around the Sun coalesced in the same general disk (with the same orbital inclination).
  2. The Kozai mechanism causes high inclination orbits to be unstable.

If you wanted to find some asteroids with nearly perpendicular orbits, you could set up a query here: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/tools/sbdb_query.html. I set up a query with "Custom Object/Orbit Constraints" under "Orbit and Model Parameter Fields" with "i deg" greater than 85 and less than 95. It returned 144 known objects. These queries are a bit tricky, so I took a screen shot:

enter image description here


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