“It didn’t seem to be any different than the other near-Earth asteroids that we discover,” Dr. Wierzchos said, “except that it was found to be orbiting Earth instead of the sun.”
If the discovery holds up, the object, named 2020 CD3 for now, would be the second mini-moon ever found.
“They are orbiting roughly the same space that we are, and some will get into the right spot where it can nudge into a ballet with us. And then it’s like any dance: you do a couple of spins together, and go your separate ways,” she says. “There’s something beautifully transient about it.” [NY Times]
BIG NEWS (thread 1/3). Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object. Here are the discovery images. pic.twitter.com/zLkXyGAkZl
— Kacper Wierzchoś (@WierzchosKacper) February 26, 2020
Shortly after this discovery was made, some astronomers over at the Minor Planet Center took some time to collect some data on the object. At the time, they weren’t able to make any calls in terms of its exact contents, but they were able to confirm that it wasn’t just a random piece of leftover rocket debris. Our new moon is the size of a small car, probably most comparable to a Smart car. Alesondra Springman, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, even stated that it could probably fit in a bedroom.
Astronomers and researchers will be keeping a close eye on the object. The new moon is temporary and will be leaving in a matter of time. Reportedly, there will be more celestial objects joining Earth orbit relatively soon.
It is pretty interesting to see how there are still quite a few things that can surprise us when it comes to looking up at the sky. I’ll be perfectly honest, though: when I heard that it was a moon, I thought it was going to be a little bit bigger than a car. Recently we’ve seen a couple of sudden surprises coming from space. As a matter of fact, we almost got hit by an asteroid last year because it “snuck up” on us. I would be more partial toward a more predictable future when it comes to these types of things. Apparently, we have a few more moons that will be joining us relatively soon, so let’s hope none come too close for comfort.
This piece originally appeared in WayneDupree.com and is used by permission.
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