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According to a sequence of studies printed by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre, the Earth has briefly captured a mini-moon. The new moon is definitely an asteroid that has entered the Earth’s orbit. In historical past, that is solely the second asteroid that has entered the vary of the planet. The measurement of the asteroid is claimed to vary between that of a cow and a bus.

asteroid coming towards the moon
Representative Photo. Credits: Pixabay

The asteroid is termed 2020 CD3 and is predicted to have a diameter of round 1.9 to three.5 meters. This shut estimation was solely doable with the assistance of astronomers Kacper Wierzchos and Theodore Prune working on the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. They first found the transferring object at first of the 12 months 2020. The group works solely in direction of naming and analyzing minor and extra-planetary our bodies.

In his twitter publish, Kacper Wierzchos stated “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.”

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He additional defined the small print in regards to the asteroid that entered the Earth roughly three years in the past. He tweeted “The object has just been announced by the MPC and its orbit shows that it entered Earth’s orbit some three years ago. Here is a diagram of the orbit created with the orbit simulator written by Tony Dunn:”

The mini-moon is predicted to be in Earth’s orbit till May 2021. Dr Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies additionally gave his opinion on the thing. The scientist acknowledged that “2020 SO’s “nearly circular” orbit is “precisely the kind of orbit that a rocket stage separated from a lunar mission would follow, once it passes by the Moon and escapes into orbit about the Sun. It’s unlikely that an asteroid could have evolved into an orbit like this, but not impossible.”

He additional added that he even suspects the transferring object to be a booster rocket from the Sixties. “I suspect this newly discovered object 2020 SO to be an old rocket booster because it is following an orbit about the Sun that is extremely similar to Earth’s, nearly circular, in the same plane, and only slightly farther away from the Sun at its farthest point,” Chodas instructed.

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Considering the ignorance in regards to the transferring object at the moment second, he exclaimed: “In a month or so we will get an indication of whether or not 2020 SO really is a rocket body since we should start being able to detect the effect sunlight pressure has on the motion of this object: if it really is a rocket body, it will be much less dense than an asteroid and the slight pressure due to sunlight will produce enough change in its motion that we should be able to detect it in the tracking data.”

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