An small object orbiting the Sun along with Earth that was detected by an asteroid-survey telescope in Hawaii on April 27, 2016, has been confirmed as essentially a mini-moon.
The small asteroid, named 2016 HO3, has likely been around for 100 years.
According to NASA, the object currently shares Earth’s orbit but will only continue to do so for a few centuries—just a brief time in astronomical terms.
The asteroid is captured in Earth’s orbit, and its distance varies; sometimes it drifts off, but Earth’s gravitational pull eventually brings it back.
It is classed as a near-Earth companion and a “quasi-satellite” of Earth, rather than a true satellite like our Moon, because of its distance from us (never any less than 9 million miles, or 14 million kilometers). It is relatively tiny, with a diameter between 120 and 300 feet (40 and 100 meters).
Asteroid 2016 HO3 is described as doing “a little dance” and “playing a game of leap frog” with our planet as it orbits. Scientists say there is no danger of its colliding with Earth at any point with no possibilities.
Reports also say that Earth used to have TWO moons… but one was destroyed in a giant collision.
The Second moon was absorbed by its sister satellite after the pair crashed at slow speed.
New theory may explain why far side of moon has thicker, more mountainous surface.
Earth may once have had two moons – the one that shines at night today and a smaller companion, according to a new theory.
A slow-motion collision between the two is believed to have created the mountainous highlands on the moon’s far side, as debris from the second, smaller moon piled up.
The side of the moon facing the Earth and the side facing away have strikingly different topographies.
See More Photos of the Earth’s new Mini-Moon Detected by an Asteroid-Survey Telescope
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