A new study reveals that Earth has a new moon — or at least a semi-moon.
A quasi-moon is a space rock that orbits the Earth, but is gravitationally bound to the Sun.
This quasar, named 2023 FW13, was discovered by experts using the Pan-STARRS telescope at the top of the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, and is one of the few known quasars.
Experts believe that the ancient cosmic companion has been around Earth since 100 BC and will continue to orbit our planet for at least another 1,500 years, until 3,700 AD.
Fortunately, 2023 FW13 or a similar quasi-moon called 469219 Kamoʻoalewa is not believed to pose any danger to people on Earth.
Astronomers have discovered a new “near-moon” – a space rock that orbits Earth but is gravitationally bound to the Sun. Several candidates for Earth’s second moon have been proposed, but none have been confirmed
What are quasi-satellites?
2023 FW13 is a quasi-moon – a subclass of near-Earth asteroids that orbit the Sun but remain close to Earth.
The quasi-moons follow elliptical (not perfectly circular) orbits around the Sun very similar to Earth’s.
They often appear to orbit the Earth, like the Moon, but in reality they remain gravitationally bound to the Sun rather than the Earth.
Quasi-moons, also known as “quasi-satellites,” often appear to orbit our planet like a natural satellite (known as a “Luna”).
But they are given the prefix “semi” because they are gravitationally bound to the Sun rather than the Earth, and not the other way around as is the case for Luna.
2023 FW13 differs from our Moon because it orbits well outside Earth’s “ridgeball,” the region around a planetary body where its gravity is the dominant force pulling on satellites.
The radius of Earth’s mound sphere is 932,000 miles (1.5 million km), while 2023 FW13’s radius from Earth is slightly larger — about 1.6 million miles.
“The ring’s dimension — about 0.18 astronomical units in radius — is so great that Earth plays no fundamental role in its motion,” said Alan Harris, a senior investigator at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Sky and telescope.
“[2023 FW13 is] It is in no way connected to the Earth except by chance.
Schematic diagram of a general quasi-satellite orbit. The satellite orbits both the Sun and the nearby planet – but it is gravitationally bound to the Sun, not the planet
An online simulator showing the orbit of 2023 FW13 in relation to the satellite, the sun and other planets in the solar system
It was discovered using the Pan-STARRS telescope, located atop Haleakala, an extinct volcano on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
2023 FW13 was first spotted on March 28 by PanSTARRS before its existence was confirmed by several other telescopes.
After confirmation, it was the 2023 FW13 included by the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Although the size of 2023 FW13 is uncertain, asteroid specialist Richard Penzel estimates it to be between 30 and 50 feet (10 to 15 meters) in diameter.
This is just a small fraction of the diameter of our Moon, which is 2,159 miles (although the Moon is classified as such because of its orbital characteristics rather than its size).
2023 FW13’s orbit around the Sun takes about the same time as Earth’s – 365.42 days (1.0005 Earth years).
As it circles the Earth on its orbital journey, this orbit is so elongated that it reaches halfway to Mars and reaches halfway to Venus.
Earth has Many well-known cosmic companionsMany of them are quasi-satellites, though 2023 FW13 shows that more are likely to be discovered.
Quasi-satellites tend to follow a “stable” trajectory around the Earth for more than a few decades before eventually leaving the planet’s orbit.
The 2023 FW13 is special because it will be in the same condition for centuries and will remain so “for centuries to come.” Amateur astronomer Tony Dunn.
Kamo’oalewa, whose name refers to offspring traveling alone, was discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii in 2016. Its orbit relative to Earth and the sun is imaged
that Online simulation Created by Dunn showing the orbit of 2023 FW13 in relation to the Moon, the Sun, and the other planets in the Solar System.
Another popular quasi-satellite known as 469219 Kamoʻoalewa or 2016 HO3 was discovered by PanSTARRS in April 2016.
469219 Kamoʻoalewa, which is 330 feet in diameter, will remain in this orbit for about 300 years into the future, according to Renu Malhotra, an expert at the University of Arizona.
Malhotra authored a recent study that found that 469,219 Kamoʻoalewa could be an ancient part of our moon.
Analysis of the light reflected from the space rock suggested it was made of the same material as the minerals found in lunar rocks from NASA’s Apollo missions.
Explanation: The difference between an asteroid, meteorite and other space rocks
that asteroid It is a large piece of rock left over from impacts or the early solar system. Most of them are located between Mars and Jupiter in the main belt.
a comet It is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them far from the solar system.
a meteor It is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere as the debris burns.
This same wreck is known as a meteor. Most of it is so small that it just dries up in the atmosphere.
If any such meteorite reaches Earth, it is called a meteor.
Meteors, meteoroids, and meteoroids usually originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.
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