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It seems that the Earth has had a young moon for decades

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from: Tanya Banner

Calculations show that a small asteroid has been orbiting Earth as a small moon since 1961. (Iconic image) © imago / CHROMORANGE

Occasionally, the Earth catches a young moon. Now an asteroid has been discovered that has been accompanying the planet for a long time.

FRANKFURT – Earth has a constant companion on its way around the sun: The Moon. It is attached to the planet by Earth’s gravity and orbits it once every 29 days, 12 hours, and 43 minutes, about once a month. Seeing the full moon in the sky. Occasionally, Earth picks up another temporary mate. For example, from 2017 to 2020, Small asteroid 2020 CD3 Earth.

Now another celestial body has been discovered accompanying the Earth – and it seems to have been for many years: preliminary calculations show that the asteroid 2022 YG Its height ranges between 16 and 30 meters and it has been orbiting Earth since 1961. It was not discovered until mid-December 2022, and the Russian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov was one of the first to observe the small asteroid. The first interstellar comet 2I / Borisov Discover.

Mini Moon: Asteroid 2022 YG has been orbiting Earth since 1961

The first computer models show that asteroid 2022 YG takes about a year to orbit Earth once. According to the first calculations, the small asteroid will accompany the Earth until the year 2181, when it will be able to free itself from the grip of Earth’s gravity.

Looking at the first computer models, the newly discovered little moon’s orbit looks very strange: first the orbit expands in one direction into an elongated ellipse, then the little moon migrates into a circular orbit around the Earth, and then forms an elliptical path in the other direction. Then the cycle repeats itself over and over – until asteroid 2181 explodes from Earth’s gravity.

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Asteroid 2022 YG could accompany Earth as a mini-moon for a long time

Additional orbit simulations and analysis of 2022 YG will show if it will indeed be with Earth for a long time. However, the first accounts indicate this.

1991 VG February to March 1992
2006 RH120 June 2006 to September 2007
2020 CD3 Around 2017 to May 2020
2020 Sun November 2020 to May 2021 estimated
2022 YG Circa 1961 to 2181 est

Not every supposed little moon on Earth is an asteroid: according to experts, the 2020 SO celestial body, which is said to have orbited the Earth from November 2020 to May 2021, was very likely. About the discarded rocket stage. (tab)