The earth has a new mini-moon: asteroid the size of a washing machine has been rotating around the earth for three years
- Astronomers followed an asteroid in the sky and discovered that it revolves around the earth
- The asteroid, seen on February 15, is now confirmed as a mini moon
- It is six to 12 feet in diameter and has a surface brightness of C-type asteroids
- The object is only recorded temporarily and flies out of the runway one day
Astronomers have seen a new visitor in the Earth’s gravity – a mini moon.
Catalina Sky Survey, funded by NASA, discovered a temporarily captured asteroid called 2020 CD3, which has been orbiting our planet for three years.
The small cosmic object has a diameter of about six to 12 feet and has a surface brightness similar to C-type asteroids that are carbon-rich and common.
This rare sighting is “big news” due to the fact that there are more than a million known asteroids, but this is only the second that revolves around the earth.
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NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey discovered a temporarily captured asteroid, called 2020 CD3, which has been orbiting our planet for three years
Although there are more than a million known asteroids in the solar system, this is the second that orbits the Earth.
Catalina Sky Survey is a NASA-funded project supported by the Near Earth Object Observation Program (NEOO) under the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).
The organization is based in the Lunar and Planetary Lab of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona and is focused on tracking and discovering objects near the Earth.
Their latest find, 2020 CD3, was seen in the night sky of February 15 by astronomers Kacper Wierzchos and Teddy Pruyne.
The mini moon was then spotted four times on February 17, which was sufficient evidence for experts to confirm that it revolves around our planet.
‘BIG NEWS. The Earth has a new temporarily captured object / Possible mini moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of February 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found an object of the 20th magnitude, “Wierzchos shared the asteroid in a tweet on February 25, after the Minor Planet Center, a branch of the International Astronomical Union as a temporarily recorded object.
The team has compared its size to that of a washing machine and believes it has been circling the earth for around three years based on orbit calculations.
The last mini-moon that appeared in the gravity of the earth was last year and fell from the sky over Australia.
The fireball was first noticed by the Desert Fireball Network of Australia in August 2016 and at the time, astronomers thought it was a normal meteor.
The DN160822_03 fireball – pictured – was seen flying over the Australian air in 2016 but it was not confirmed as a mini-moon until 2019
Researchers study his orbit and say that the fireball, named DN160822_03, actually circled the earth before it lost its orbit, turning it into a mini-moon.
Only one other mini-moon has ever been observed with a telescope and it orbited the earth for 11 months before it flew into space.
In 2006, Catalina Sky Survey from the University of Arizona discovered a mini-moon the size of a car. Known as the RH120 of 2006, it revolved around the earth for less than a year after its discovery, then resumed in orbit around the sun.
Our moon, walked by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and others from the Apollo missions, has a diameter of 2000 miles and orbited the earth for four billion years.
A mini-moon, on the other hand, is supposed to be a few meters wide and only spins around the planet for less than a year before resuming its life as an asteroid or a meteor fireball falling to earth.