If Jupiter has 79 moons and Saturn has 62, why would Earth have only one? Of course, our planet is a lot smaller than those gaseous giants, but it’s at least theoretically possible for Earth to host more than one single moon.
A recent discovery shows us once again that we still have things to learn about our own solar system, not to mention the galaxy or the whole Universe. A team of astronomers from the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey claims that they have spotted an asteroid that behaves like a moon because it has been caught in the Earth’s gravity.
2020 CD3 is its name
The asteroid has been called 2020 CD3, and it’s only between 1.9 and 3.5 meters in diameter. After its initial discovery, researchers from six more observatories studied the cosmic object, and they calculated its orbit. Thus, it was confirmed that the 2020 CD3 asteroid has been in Earth’s orbit for about three years. While it may sound a big time period for us, three years is less than a blink of an eye if we judge at an astronomical scale.
However, this is not the first time when Earth has a ‘mini-Moon’ flowing around it. The other one was dubbed 2006 RH120, it was also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey, and it orbited our planet for 18 months.
Kacper Wierzchos said recently in a tweet the following:
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,
Although it was discovered recently, the 2020 CD3 asteroid has roamed around the Earth’s orbit for quite a while without being detected. However, the discovery of the asteroid is still pretty significant.
Humans shouldn’t plan on going to 2020 CD3 rather than going to the real Moon, because the asteroid is only about the size of a car.