UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — In addition to the moon, the Earth has acquired a new natural satellite. Another moon was discovered in the sky by astronomers of the Center for Small Planets of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
The satellite of our planet was the small asteroid 2020 CD3. True, the new moon from the category of mini – asteroid has dimensions from a meter to 6 meters.
2020 CD3 belongs to the group of asteroids of Cupids or Apollo. These are the so-called quasi satellites of the Earth.
They have a very complex orbit. The integration of the orbits of two cosmic bodies indicates that the asteroid is temporarily attached by the force of gravity to the third planet of the solar system. He flies with the same period as the Earth, without moving far from it, explained Boris Shustov, supervisor of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
This Earth satellite does not fly in a circular orbit around the planet, like the International Space Station (MK), the first satellite or Yuri Gagarin flew.
But the specific orbit of such an object leads to the fact that they do not live long on the Earth’s orbit, Shustov notes. They can accompany the Earth for several years and even several decades, but then the Cupids abandon the Earth.
In 2002, the Earth had three quasi satellites, one of which should remain in orbit until 2179. In 2012, the 50-meter asteroid 2012 DA14 was discovered. He made them company, but in a year his orbit again became horseshoe-shaped. A new satellite appeared at the Earth in 2016 .
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
Contact us: [email protected]