New ‘mini-moon’ orbiting Earth — for now, astronomers say
Meteor upon earth, dawn time, aspects of this image furnished by NASA – 3D render
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A traveling to mini-moon is circling Earth, according to astronomers who found the cosmic squatter in our planet’s orbit.
The small asteroid, dubbed 2020 CD3, was noticed by astronomers in Tucson, Arizona, on Feb. 15.
“Big Information,” Kacper Wierzchos, a researcher with the Catalina Sky Study at the College of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab, tweeted Tuesday. “Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon termed 2020 CD3. On the night time of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I observed a 20th magnitude object.”
Wierzchos mentioned the object measures about 6 feet to 11 feet across, and its orbit indicates that it entered Earth’s orbit all over three years ago.
He added that the discovery is a “huge deal” since out of roughly 1 million identified house rocks, this is “just the second asteroid recognized to orbit Earth (after 2006 RH120, which was also learned by the Catalina Sky Survey).”
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The cosmic interloper was officially catalogued by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Earth Middle on Tuesday. The heart, founded in 1947, collects observational information on asteroids and comets and other normal satellites in the photo voltaic method.
In its formal designation, the IAU mentioned observations “indicate that this item is quickly certain to Earth.” The organization added: “No evidence of perturbations thanks to solar radiation strain is found, and no link to a regarded synthetic object has been identified. Additional observations and dynamical studies are strongly inspired.”
The very last asteroid to get caught in Earth’s orbit was 2006 RH120. The house rock, which orbits the sun and passes shut to Earth each and every few decades, was captured by the planet’s gravity in June 2006 and stayed until eventually all-around September 2007, in advance of it swung back out into the solar technique.
Much more facts about the mini-moon could be disclosed in the coming weeks and months, as astronomers keep on to notice the object.
The Catalina Sky Survey, a NASA-funded venture, aims to scan the cosmos to uncover and monitor close to-Earth objects, significantly all those that could pose a risk to Earth.