New 'mini-moon' orbiting Earth

28 Février, 2020, 08:26 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Earth has a new temporarily captured object  Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3 according to astronomers

Wierzchos did use the word "temporary" in his tweet so its not likely that this mini-moon will become a permanent fixture in Earth's orbit. Earth has a new quickly captured object/Feasible mini-moon known as 2020 CD3.

One of the first mini-moons to be discovered by researchers was 2006 RH120, which circled the planet for 18 months.

On February 15th, astronomers Teddy Pruyne and Kacper Wierzchos, with the Catalina Sky Survey, spotted a tiny, dim object moving through the sky.

It has been explained that this rock has been orbiting the planet for about 3 years and has a diameter of between 1.9 and 3.5 meters, which would classify it as a type C asteroid, the most common.

A asteroid has got caught in the Earth's orbit making it a natural satellite of our planet, similar to our moon.

It has been designated "2020 CD3" by the Minor Planet Center, part of the International Astronomical Union, a body that catalogues and names objects discovered in space.

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Its route suggests it entered Earth's orbit three years ago, he said. As the discovery is still somewhat new, not much is known of the object, although we imagine astronomers like Wierzchos and NASA will have their eyes glued to while it remains in orbit. Their statement went on to say that "no link to a known artificial object has been found".

It's not the moon, but you can call it mini-moon.

File image - Earth is surrounded by a host of asteroids, some of which may temporarily become "minimoons".

The first was 2006 RH120, also found by the Catalina Sky Survey, which most recently orbited Earth between September 2006 and June 2007.

The new moon is thought to be between 1.9 and 3.5 metres across.

Most space rocks are either drawn into the Earth's atmosphere and burn up upon entry, or partially orbit the Earth before their velocity carries them elsewhere. From time to time, they come too close to the Earth or collide with it, but the result is never catastrophic, thanks to their size. It is a very small object, but it is still large enough to be seen from terrestrial sensors and, if it hangs long enough, it could qualify as a "mini moon". And it turns out it may have been orbiting us for years, undetected until now.


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