Newfound Near-Earth Asteroid Carries with it a Large Moon

Another day, another astronomic discovery that surprises us all. That’s how it works in this field, and there’s no wonder why: with the Universe having trillions of galaxies, there are enough places out there where we can look. Furthermore, the existence of other universes is almost certain. Some astrophysicists believe that the number of universes from the Multiverse is even bigger than the number of atoms from our observable Universe: 10 to the power 500.

But let’s stick for the moment to our own wonderful Universe. Astronomers from the Arecibo Observatory have captured the first images of a recently-discovered near-Earth asteroid. But the most shocking thing is that the space rock has its own moon.

2020 BX12 is the name of the newfound asteroid

The 2020 BX12 asteroid has been discovered on January 27, 2020 by the ATLAS survey. It has a minimum of165 m (541 feet) in diameter.

Dr. Luisa Fernanda Zambrano-Marín and her colleagues found out that the newfound asteroid has a large moon. However, this moon is a lot smaller than the one we see in the sky every night: only 70 m (230 feet) in diameter. It also has an orbital period of only 49 hours. An official statement about the discovery has been released, and this is a part of it:

The secondary appears brighter than the primary body in the radar images, which is common for radar images of binaries.

The horizontal axis in delay-Doppler images shows, in fact, the echo power per Doppler-shifted frequency, or in other words the surface area that has a specific radial velocity relative to the observer.

This makes objects that rotate slower appear narrower in delay-Doppler images than objects that rotate faster.

Luckily for us, the newfound 2020 BX12 asteroid poses no threat to our planet. And speaking of other universes, they are by definition portions of spacetime where we can never travel. But who knows, maybe humanity will find out the secret for teleportation one day.

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