• Wednesday, Aug 05, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:05 am

Earth captures new 'mini moon'

  • Published at 07:42 pm February 27th, 2020
Earth-captures-new-'mini-moon'
File photo: an airplane flies past as the moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire"solar eclipse as seen from Hanoi on December 26, 2019 AFP

Its route suggests it entered Earth's orbit three years ago, he said

Earth has acquired a second "mini-moon" about the size of a car, according to astronomers who spotted the object circling our planet.

The mass - roughly 6-11 feet in diameter - was observed by researchers Kacper Wierzchos and Teddy Pruyne at the Nasa-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on the night of February 15.

"BIG NEWS. Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3," likely to be a C-type asteroid, Wierzchos tweeted on Wednesday.

The astronomer said it was a "big deal" as "this is just the second asteroid known to orbit Earth (after 2006 RH120, which was also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey)."

Its route suggests it entered Earth's orbit three years ago, he said.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Minor Planet Center, which collects data on minor planets and asteroids, in an announcement said "no link to a known artificial object has been found," implying it was likely an asteroid captured by Earth's gravity.

"Orbit integrations indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth."

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk said the car-sized object was not the Telsa Roadster he launched into space in 2018, which is now orbiting the Sun.

"It's not mine," he tweeted.

Earth's new neighbour is not in a stable orbit around the planet and is unlikely to be around for very long.

"It is heading away from the Earth-moon system as we speak," Grigori Fedorets, research fellow at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, told New Scientist magazine, and was likely to escape in April.

The only other asteroid known to orbit Earth, 2006 RH120, rotated the planet from September 2006 to June 2007.

64
63
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail