Another Moon Circling Earth’s Orbit, For A While Now

Earth has another moon

From the Stone-Age to the 21st century, mankind has been excelling in every field with the very purpose of knowing the unknown. Their knowledge of this world, as well as others in the vicinity, have been very resourceful, but there is still a lot more that keeps the urge to know alive, even today. With all the new inventions and discoveries taking place every alternative day, to intrigue, your interests, even more, there might be another moon circling around the Earth’s orbit.

At Catalina Sky Survey, Arizona, researchers stumbled upon an object, gravitationally bound to Earth, named 2020 CD3. It is even more astonishing that this object has been around for about 3 years. And now, researchers believe 2020 CD3 to be the temporary possible mini-moon of our Earth.

Our earth already has a permanent moon circling around its gravitational orbit, and this is the second moon for the time being. Previously, there has been another temporary moon named 2006 RH120, circling under Earth’s gravitational pull for a period of 9 months between September 2006 to June 2007. In another case, one asteroid made a fiery exit some time ago and was spotted in the sky of Australia. 

Coming back to 2020 CD3, the new mini-moon found in our orbit, is actually an asteroid, with a diameter between 1.9 and 3.5 meters (6.2 and 11.5 feet). This mini-moon was temporarily captured by our Earth’s gravitational pull, similar to the previous one in 2006. The presence of this second moon was first observed in 2017, but the fact was only confirmed recently this year on February 19, by Catalina Sky Survey. Astronomer Kacper Wierzchos along with his Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne wrote about their recent feat of discovery on his Twitter handle.

It is speculated that there are more than a million asteroids and meteors near the Earth, but there is only an official count of 22,200 have been discovered. Mini-moons are also known to be rare, as only about 18,000 out of 10 million asteroids got captured by the Earth’s gravitational pull. 

The reason to call these asteroids or mini-moon’s temporary is that the previous ones managed to wriggle free from the Earth’s orbit. Chances are, this new mini-moon might too wriggle free, and orbital simulation suggests, mini-moon 2020 CD3 will depart from Earth’s orbit, sometime in April 2020.

Sukanya Chakraborty

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