If you thought that the Moon was the only celestial body orbiting the Earth, you are wrong. The asteroid 2020 cd3 is the “earth’s new admirer” spotted at the Mount Lemmon Observatory with the help of a sixty-inch telescope.
The asteroid has been circling our planet for almost three years. What took us so long to identify that this thing is orbiting? Well, this is space science we are discussing, nothing comes easy, and a humongous amount of research goes into anything before jumping to conclusions. Minor planet centre announced that the asteroid is “temporary” and is bound to orbit the Earth till April approximately.
So what exactly is this new Moon, how big is it and is this the first time an event of this nature has occurred? We’re answering it all. Read till the end for a rather scary experience.
What is 2020 cd3?
Almost the size of a car, the 2020 cd3 is a small member of a category of asteroids that got pulled into the Earth’s orbit at a distance further than our very own Moon. In most cases, asteroids are on a collision course but don’t worry, even if the 2020 cd3 collided, its small size would have been dealt with the Earth’s atmosphere itself.
Is this the first instance of a “Small Moon”?
Not quite! Scientists confirm that similar occurrences have occurred in the past with the “quasi satellites” making a circle or two around our planet before its slingshot separation.
An erstwhile visitor named the “2006 rh120” made four loops around the Earth between September 2006 and June 2007 before embarking on its journey beyond in space. By now it might have reached the far side of the Sun and will fly past our planet again in 2028. Pretty fascinating if you think about it.
What if something bigger was caught in the Earth’s Orbit? A second moon maybe?
While the idea might be fascinating, the reality isn’t. If something the size of the Moon were caught in our planet’s orbit, then we humans will suffer something close to annihilation. Yes, you heard that right.
The second Moon will intensify everything done by the first one. The clash of gravitational pulls between the two moons will lead to supervolcanoes (maybe even more prominent than super volcanoes if there is such thing). Moreover, the sea levels would rise, and the oceans won’t be pretty anymore. I hope you know the percentage of water on our planet as compared to land. Yeah, Extinction!!
Eventually, the two moons would kill each other, sending an end number of debris flying out into space. If everything before wasn’t enough already.
Let’s just take a moment to thank the heavens above that the 2020 cd3 is just as big as a car. The discovery is captivating nonetheless.