BIG NEWS (thread 1/3). 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. Here are the discovery images. pic.twitter.com/zLkXyGAkZl— Kacper Wierzchos (@WierzchosKacper) February 26, 2020
Earth's second Moon is a mini-Moon
A team of astronomers from the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona think there may be a small asteroid captured in Earth orbit, reports CNET. Confirmation came from The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPC), who declared on Tuesday that our planet has a new "temporary captured object."
A member of the team, Wierzchos, followed-up on the discovery with a tweet, in which he says that the comet entered Earth's orbit roughly three years ago. It is very small, with a diameter between 1.9 and 3.5 meters (6.2 and 11.5 feet). It may be tiny, but "it's a big deal as out of ~ 1 million known asteroids, this is just the second asteroid known to orbit Earth," tweeted Wierzchos.
(3/3) The object has a diameter between 1.9 - 3.5 m assuming a C-type asteroid albedo. But it's a big deal as out of ~ 1 million known asteroids, this is just the second asteroid known to orbit Earth (after 2006 RH120, which was also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey).— Kacper Wierzchos (@WierzchosKacper) February 26, 2020
Before and after the second Moon
The first asteroid found circling round our planet was RH120, discovered in 2006 by the same Catalina Sky Survey that discovered the temporary second Moon.
Now, it's a race for astronomers to find more information on the latest greatest rock in space.
"Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged," said the MPC in the announcement.