Asteroid has been orbiting Earth as a “mini moon” since 1961


Just over 60 years ago, a small asteroid approaching Earth got caught in its gravitational field and then swung into orbit. Since then, the celestial body, whose diameter is estimated at 16 to 30 meters, has been circling our planet unnoticed until recently as a kind of “minimoon”.

The small asteroid, which received the catalog name 2022 YG, was discovered on December 15 last year by Russian amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov, who also succeeded in 2019 in the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov (C/2019 Q4), named after it.

“Mini Moon” moves on a strange path
The cosmic chunk orbits the Earth in a strange way. Astronomers report that it moves first in an elongated ellipse in one direction, then the other direction and there again on a more circular path and finally back in the first direction before the whole cycle starts all over again (see animation in the tweet below). ).

Will orbit the Earth for another 160 years
Initial calculations show that the mini-moon 2022 YG takes about a year to orbit the Earth once and has been doing so since about 1961. According to computer simulations, the quasi-moon will not be able to free itself from the Earth until the year 2181. gravity of the earth.

Quasi-moons accompany our Earth again and again and pose no danger, they are attracted by their gravity and leave their orbits after some time. For example, from 2017 to March 2020, a small celestial body with the catalog name 2020 CD3 orbited our home planet.

Source: Krone


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