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.

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.

(Watch the Morning Show report from Paul Gross in the video player above)

About the Authors:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.