Earth is set to receive a new mini moon – but astronomers are confused by its appearance Science | News

Earth is set to receive a new mini moon - but astronomers are confused by its appearance Science | News

An object called 2020 SO is heading towards Earth, and from October it will be a ‘mini moon’, which may orbit our planet until May next year. When we have the Moon, the Earth constantly receives many small asteroids and meteorites, which are trapped in its orbit, which astronomers call ‘mini moons’.

The definition of the moon is any natural object trapped by the gravitational pull of a planet.

Now astronomers have discovered a small, non-threatening object heading towards Earth, and according to astronomers’ simulations, the planet could be trapped by gravity for up to eight months.

A video of the simulation shows 2020 SO taking two close-up approaches to Earth while the object is in orbit around our planet.

The first will arrive on December 1, and will fly about 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles).

It looks like it will try to get away from our planet on February 2, 2021, before it is re-absorbed by the force of gravity for a closer look.

However, this is only from initial observations and may change easily over the next few months.

Astronomer Tony Dunn said: “Asteroid 2020 SO could be captured by Earth from October 2020 to May 2021. Current nominal orbit shows capture via L2 and escape via L1.

“Very confusing path, so be prepared for a lot of corrections as new observations come.”

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More specifically, Mr. Sodas said it was a rocket piece from the Surveyor 2 spacecraft, which was sent to the moon in 1966.

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Astronomer Kevin Haider said: “Asteroid 2020 SO Surveyor 2 is suspected to be the center rocket booster, which was launched on September 20, 1966.

“Earth-like orbit and low relative speeds represent man-made objects.”

Earth’s last mini moon arrived earlier this year, about the size of a car captured by the orbit of the small meteorite planet 2020 CD3.

The spacecraft rested in orbit for about three months before continuing its journey throughout the solar system in March.

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Cary Douglas

About the Author: Cary Douglas

Wayne Ma is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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