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Astronomers and space scientists have called it a groundbreaking discovery. On the night of February 15, 2022, researchers in the US state of Arizona spotted a second Earth companion. A team of astronomers working on the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) project have discovered a second, tiny celestial body that is currently orbiting the Earth. Apparently it is a new mini-moon of our planet. It currently bears the silly name 2022 CD3. The object has been orbiting Earth for about three years, but will only remain in Earth's orbit for a short time. Find out what else we know about this sensation in the next few lines!
The earth has a second moon, but only temporarily. It is called Mini Moon 2022 CD3.
A mini moon around the earth? What is that?
If you spontaneously reacted in the same way, it's completely understandable! It doesn't often happen that the earth has a new companion or that the moon gets a sibling. However, that is not impossible! Now it is probably a small asteroid.
"No connection to a known man-made object was found," reads the press release from the International Astronomical Union (IAU). From this one concludes that this is a small celestial body. It was most likely "caught" by Earth's gravity as it flew by. Since then, the mini-moon has been orbiting the earth and caused a lot of excitement last week.
The mini moon is only as big as a car!
- Concrete information about Earth's mini moon
First reported about the new mini-moon by scientist Kacper Wierzchos on Twitter. There he wrote: "Kurt, after my teammate Teddy Pryne and I spotted the object, we determined its orbit and determined that it was being captured by Earth's gravity." However, it was still unclear whether it was "a natural or artificial object, such as space debris". That's why both have it Scientists dubbed 'possible mini-moon'. According to the researchers, the small moon has a diameter of about 1.9 to 3.5 meters. It actually has the dimensions of a car and has therefore not been tracked down until now. The new mini moon is significantly smaller than the "actual" companion to earth. Our moon is known to have a diameter of about 3500 kilometers. The natural satellite of the earth orbits the earth in more than 27 days. However, the mini-moon 2022 CD3 needs 47 days to encircle the earth once.
The blue planet currently has two moons.
- The mini moon is only intended to orbit the earth temporarily
Scientists call the just-discovered mini-moon an "object temporarily bound to Earth" It has been attracted by its gravity and has settled into Earth's orbit. Now it orbits the blue planet in a wide oval. Most of the time it stays outside the orbit of the big moon. The boulder from space is said to have entered Earth's gravitational field in 2022 or 2022. However, the orbit of the mini-moon 2022 CD3 is not stable, so it cannot stay here forever. The new companion is expected to leave the Earth-Moon system in April 2022. That means about a month from now. We have to wait!
The white squiggle is said to represent the temporary orbit of the mini-moon 2022 CD3.
- 2022 CD3 is not Earth's first mini moon
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) reports more than 50 observations have confirmed the existence of the mini-moon 2022 CD3. However, this isn't the first time Earth has had a temporary mini-moon. From September 2006 to June 2007 another small asteroid orbited our planet. Named RH 120 in 2006, this "blind passerby" orbited the earth four times before disappearing again. In August 2016 we once again had a temporary companion. That was probably also an asteroid, which had also previously been caught by Earth's gravity and thus slowed down. It fell over South Australia and burned up.
Officially, the earth only has one moon. And it will stay that way.
- Interesting facts about the moons in the solar system
It is also interesting to know that our earth moon is one of the largest moons in the solar system. He is believed to be from the remains 4.5 billion years ago a violent collision with another celestial body. Only two planets in the solar system have no satellites, and they are Venus and Mercury. Mars is close to the asteroid belt and has captured two moons in its gravitational field. While Jupiter may have more than 79 moons, only five orbit Pluto.
No one can say how our temporary mini moon will continue.
The orbit of the just discovered mini-moon was not an ellipse, but a wild back and forth around the earth.