Researchers at the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPC) have confirmed that the earth has a new space body in its orbit. This temporarily captured object which scientists call a tiny moon or mini-moon was locked up in the planet's orbit around three years ago.
All you need to know about Earth's second moon
Scientists have named this space body 2020 CD3. An electronic circular released by the Minor Planet Centre revealed that "this object is temporarily bound to the Earth. No evidence of perturbations due to solar radiation pressure is seen, and no link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged."
It should be noted that this newly discovered object is very different when compared to earth's only moon as we learned in textbooks. 2020 CD3 is very small and faint. Scientists analyzed its size using sunlight reflections and found that its size is just 3.5 meters. Experts believe that this finding will revolutionize space science, as this is for the first time that humans are discovering such a small object, possibly a mini-moon orbiting the earth.
How the earth's natural moon was formed?
It should be noted that 2020 CD3 is a temporary moon, and it may soon go away from the earth's orbit. However, Earth already has a moon to lit up night skies. A few months back, NASA had suggested that an ancient planetary collision between earth and a giant space body might have resulted in the formation of this moon.
These experts believe that a massive object, as big as Mars, collided with the earth around billions of years ago. This impact sent chunks of debris into the skies, which later coalesced into another cosmic object that became Earth's Moon. Researchers suggest that this cosmic collision has huge significance in understanding the history of the solar system, and the way life evolved on the earth.