Earth has acquired a new mini-moon -- but it’s only visiting
Earth has a new mini-moon that has entered its orbit, astronomers discovered last week.
The tiny asteroid, named 2020 CD3, was spotted by astronomers in Tucson, Arizona, on Feb. 15. “BIG NEWS,” Kacper Wierzchos, a researcher with the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab, tweeted Tuesday.
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 Wierzchos (@WierzchosKacper) February 26, 2020
In its official designation, the IAU said observations “indicate that this object is temporarily bound to Earth.” The organization added: “No evidence of perturbations due to solar radiation pressure is seen, and no link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged.”
The last asteroid to get caught in Earth’s orbit was 2006 RH120. It stuck around until Sept. 2007.
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