Discovery of Earth’s Second Moon

During the 49th Annual Division of the Plutetry Science meeting in Utah, Utah, last week, Vishnu Reddy, one of the planets astronomers from Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, presented new data for an object that was discovered in 2016. The object looked to walk around the sun with the earth and the question was could it be earth’s second moon.

However, many people suspected the item to be wasted, Reddy’s figures confirmed that the object, called 2016 Hao3, is actually a simple asteroid and that too is a little bit. However, there is a difference, unlike the space asteroids in the last several parts of the Earth, 2016 Holo 3 is not moving forward from the Earth. It really is traveling with us.

Reddy posted on his blog, “2016 HO3 is a small near-Earth object (NEO) measuring not more than 100 meters (330 feet) across that, while orbiting the sun, also appears to circle around the Earth as a quasi-satellite. Only five quasi-satellites have been discovered so far, but 2016 HO3 is the most stable of them. The provenance of this object is unknown. On timescales of a few centuries, 2016 HO3 remains within 38 to 100 lunar-distances from us,”.

Further added, “in an effort to constrain its rotation period and surface composition, we observed 2016 HO3 on April 14 and 18 with the Large Binocular Telescope and the Discovery Channel Telescope. The derived rotation period and the spectrum of emitted light are not uncommon amongst small NEOs, suggesting that 2016 HO3 is a natural object of similar provenance to other small NEOs.”

“One way to visualize HO3’s orbit is by picturing a hula hoop dancer — the sun in this analogy — twirling two hoops around the hips at the same time, ever so slightly out of sync. While it orbits the sun, the object makes yearly loops around the Earth. As a result, the object appears to orbit the Earth, but it is not gravitationally bound to our planet,” said in the post.