Earth Has A New Moon, And Its Name Is 2014 OL339

Posted by K R on

There is only one Moon. But Earth technically has many more moon-like-things than just the one we walked on in 1969 And now there's one more: an asteroid has been discovered with an orbit which is so stable with Earth's that it has been recognised as a quasi-satellite -- a new moon. Ish. Officially Earth does have just one natural satellite. But astronomers have long recognised that the whole-sort-of-general-mish-mash above our heads is a lot more complex than is presented in simple diagrams of space. For instance, Earth regularly 'captures' asteroids which are flying nearby and then enter into an orbit with our planet - sometimes for a short time, occasionally for four orbits or more. Researchers also think that many small asteroids could be in near-permanent orbit around Earth that we just can't see. And there are also several asteroids which have 'orbital resonance' with Earth in that, while they orbit the Sun, so closely match the path of our planet that they are essentially stable. The new discovery - 2014 OL339 - is one of these. Discovered on July 29, 2014 by Farid Char of the Chilean University of Antofagasta, it is an asteroid with a diameter of about 100-200 metres. It orbits the Sun on a fairly unstable path, but currently it has entered a period in which it is pretty stable with the Earth. via Huffington Post.

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