Mini-moon

It's not the moon, but you can call it mini-moon.

Earth has captured a tiny object and pulled it into orbit.

The asteroid, known as 2020 CD3, is only the second asteroid known to orbit Earth. And while it won't last, this asteroid acts as a temporary mini-moon whirling around our planet. The asteroid is expected to drop out of orbit around the Earth in April and return to a heliocentric orbit, which is an orbit around the sun.

The discovery was made by Kacper Wierzchos and Theodore Pruyne, researcher specialists for the Catalina Sky Survey. It's a NASA-funded project at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tuscon, Arizona.

The survey is supported by the Near-Earth Object Observations Program, which reports into NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Specialists at Catalina help NASA discover and track near-Earth objects that could be potentially hazardous to the planet.

On Tuesday, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Minor Planet Center announced the object. The MPC is "the single worldwide location for receipt and distribution of positional measurements of minor planets, comets and outer irregular natural satellites of the major planets."

"Orbit integrations indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth," according to the announcement on its site. "No link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged."



(c) CNN 03/05/2020

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