Representatives of NASA reported that they definitely identified a secondary moon that is in orbit around the Earth. Surprisingly, they believe that while the newly discovered mini-moon has been in orbit for more than a century without being detected before.
NASA DISCOVERS THE SECOND MOON ORBITING THE EARTH
The space agency has explained that the smallest moon moves on a fairly irregular path compared to the Moon. It has an elliptical orbit and passes at a distance to Earth of between thirty-eight and one hundred times more than the Moon.
It is also in an inclined orbit, which means that sometimes it travels faster through space than the Earth and, at other times, its speed is much slower. This discrepancy means that this moon has a slightly different duration than a terrestrial year. “Since 2016 HO3 revolves around our planet, but never ventures very far since we both surround the sun, we refer to it as a quasi-satellite of the Earth,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Objects of NASA, Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“Another asteroid – 2003 YN107 – followed a similar orbital pattern for a while more than ten years ago, but since then it has left our neighborhood.This new asteroid is much more blocked in us.Our calculations indicate that 2016 HO3 has been a quasi- Earth’s stable satellite for almost a century, and will continue to follow this pattern as Earth’s companion for centuries to come. ”
Representatives of NASA have referred to the mini moon as Asteroid 2016 H30 and believe that it was trapped in Earth’s orbit at least a hundred years ago. However, the moon is incredibly small and, therefore, has evaded the telescopes before now. The mini-moon is only forty meters wide and one hundred meters long, which means that it is incredibly difficult to see in the night sky without the use of specialized equipment.
It has been reported that the smallest moon was detected and studied using the PAN-STARSS 1 asteroid reconnaissance telescope based at Haleakala in Hawaii. Unlike the older Moon, Asteroid 2016 H30 is described as a quasi-satellite that means it will not be in Earth’s orbit indefinitely. However, representatives of the space agency said that given the current trajectory of the mini-moon, it is not expected to be separated from the orbit of the Earth for several centuries. This means that the Moon will have a smaller companion for quite some time.
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