NASA has confirmed that Earth has a second moon that has been orbiting our planet for just over a century.
Ewao.com reports: The smaller quasi-moon orbits Earth with an extremely irregular path. Moon 2.0 is actually asteroid 2016 H03, which is locked into a dance with our planet, in fact, it has been dancing with our planet for almost a century and we have failed to notice it until recently.
The quasi- moon’s orbit is extremely elliptical causing it to travel between 38 and 100 times the distance of our planet’s ‘original’ moon.
Earth new mini-moon is around 40 meters across and nearly 100 meters wide and will most likely remain as one of Earth’s smaller moon for coming centuries.
The new moon was discovered thanks to the Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope in Haleakala, Hawaii.
“Since 2016 HO3 loops around our planet, but never ventures very far away as we both go around the sun, we refer to it as a quasi-satellite of Earth,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “One other asteroid — 2003 YN107 — followed a similar orbital pattern for a while over ten years ago, but it has since departed our vicinity. This new asteroid is much more locked onto us. Our calculations indicate 2016 HO3 has been a stable quasi-satellite of Earth for almost a century, and it will continue to follow this pattern as Earth’s companion for centuries to come.”