Our planet Earth has got a new second moon. Officially named as 2020 CD3, this new wonder was discovered just this February by Kacper and Teddy.
So what actually is this mini moon? Well it is not an “organic” moon like our moon.
2020 CD3 is an asteroid actually, about the size of a car.
It is temporarily bound to our Earth and has been orbiting the Earth for a while now.
And this is not the first time Earth has had a temporary moon. There had been previous occurrences too.
We have numerous asteroids floating around in space.
Some of these objects accidentally move into Earth’s gravity and could get caught. They might wiggle away eventually pretty soon.
Or some objects get pulled in harder and fall down to Earth – some of them, all burnt on their way down, while some others hit the ground.
There had been a temporary moon in 2016 named 2006 RH120 and it stayed within Earth’s gravitational pull for a few months between September 2006 and June 2007.
But how come CD3 is captured and not the other similar object so we can have lots of similar mini moons?
Well, this 2020 CD3 seemed to have been from the solar system’s main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
This means that the 2020 CD3 had been orbiting the sun at a speed similar to that of the Earth.
Hence it has approached the Earth slowly enough to be captured.
If it had been a regular asteroid, well, we wouldn’t have had a temporary mini moon!
How is this CD3 different from a classic “moon”?
For one, our moon is formed organically. It was born from the Earth itself, as opposed to the temporary moons where they are captured from outer space.
Our moon affects a lot of things. We have a lunar calendar for a reason.
The way our moon orbits around us and its gravity affects us.
But a temporary moon like the 2020 CD3 won’t affect Earth that way.
And our moon is huge unlike the CD3 which is just about the size of a car. Which is why we won’t be able to have a glimpse of the mini moon like our moon.
Most classic moons are nearly spherical in shape because of their own gravity.
However the temporary mini moons are objects that are caught by Earth’s gravity and don’t have gravity of their own.
This affects their shape. Since they are just affected by Earth’s gravity and are caught by it, they usually are not spherical or anything near it.
The 2020 CD3 is elongated and vaguely triangular in shape.
No matter how cute or interesting these mini moons are, they cannot make a classic moon.
And they cannot, in any way, replace our moon as well.
The 2020 CD3 is just a temporarily caught object and will wiggle away and leave the Earth’s hold quite soon.