We all adored Moon and loved it all our lives, it has been a constant partner for Earth for billions of years and mainstay of the skies. You’ll be surprised to know that it is not our only companion. Even now, to this day smaller objects tend to get captured temporarily in earth’s orbit. Staying in the orbit for a shorter period until in a few months or years it gets flung back into space. Wondering what are these mini-moons and the mystery it holds in the universe? Then read on more to know about the secrets of its origin.
What is the mystery of these objects?
These objects are called mini-moons, while only a few of these tentative detections of temporarily captured asteroids are known. Only two of these existence have been confirmed. Which consists of 2006 RH120 which was spotted from 2006 to 2007 and 2020 CD3, in earth orbit from 2018 to 2020.
Recently astronomers have discovered a new object which goes by the name of 2020 SO. An unknown object whose direction is likely to be temporarily captured by earth’s gravity. The object has the probability of arriving next month in October 2020 and staying until May 2021. Until it departs elsewhere.
According to the simulation below, the trajectory of the object indicates that it will leave through two of the earth’s Lagrange points. Stable points of gravitation, clashing with Earth’s gravitational interaction with the sun.
Asteroid 2020 SO may get captured by Earth from Oct 2020 – May 2021. Current nominal trajectory shows shows capture through L2, and escape through L1. Highly-chaotic path, so be prepared for lots of revisions as new observations come in. @renerpho @nrco0e https://t.co/h4JaG2rHEd pic.twitter.com/RfUaeLtEWq
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) September 20, 2020
This can be considered interesting and noteworthy in and of itself, but there’s a catch. The low velocity of 2020 SO and earth-like orbit suggests it’s not an asteroid. Experts believe that it’s something human-made and more consistent.
2020 SO has already been recorded as an Apollo Asteroid in the JPL small body database. A type of asteroid that crosses paths with earth’s orbit. This type of asteroid often has near-Earth encounters. But few theories of 2020 SO says it otherwise.