Earth might have caught a new moon, and it’s super tiny

Thanks to its solo nature, we even call it "The Moon, quot;, which is convenient, but that does not mean that other natural objects can not be trapped by the gravity of our planet, and researchers think they might have discovered a "Mini Moon "orbiting our planet".

Sky-watchers have discovered a suspected asteroid-turned-moon in orbit around the Earth, and it's expected to float around us for the next two months.

The mini-moon, also recognised as C26FED2, was seen by astronomers Kacper Wierzchos and Teddy Pruyne from the Catalina Sky Survey at the College of Arizona on February 15, 2020.

With increasing capabilities of surveys, it's likely that more temporarily captured objects "will be discovered in the coming years, allowing for improved definition and characterization of this odd class of near-Earth objects". It is said that this will be the second mini-moon of the Earth ever to be found, after the 2006 RH120 that was also discovered by the Cataline Sky Survey. The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (IAU)-a facility that logs information on asteroids, comets, and satellites- made the official recording of the mini-moon discovery.

The researchers also noted the asteroid is a rather tiny one, measuring somewhere between 6.2 feet and 11.4 feet in diameter, making it about the size of a vehicle. It was orbiting around Earth! And Earth has one known Trojan asteroid, a rock that stays with a planet, leading or trailing its annual march. It's known as a TCO, or Temporarily Captured Object to astronomers.

However, this is not the first time when Earth has a "mini-Moon" flowing around it. There is no evidence of disturbances caused by solar radiation pressure and there are no links found with an artificial object.

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Other claimed "moons" of the Earth are asteroids whose orbital period about the Sun averages out at exactly one year.

Earth might have a next Moon - a incredibly compact, brief-term Moon. "Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged", the organization said. So, when they encounter Earth's gravity, the planet gives them a little tug, so that they fall into orbit around us.

The news was greeted with excitement in the astronomy world, though no one seems to know how long the mini moon will stick around.

Since then, the existence of this object has been confirmed by other observatories.

As we know, United States astronaut Neil Louis Armstrong had written his name in space history as the first man to land on the true Moon.

  • Douglas Reid