Why 2020 CD3 is called a temporary satellite?



The orbit of 2020 CD3 is unstable as it is being pulled between the gravity of the Moon and that of the Earth. So, the asteroid is expected to leave its orbit around the Earth in April. As it is on a temporary orbit around the Earth, it is considered a Temporarily Captured Object (TCO) or a temporary satellite of Earth. One it leaves its geocentric orbit around the Earth, it is expected to return to a heliocentric orbit, which is an orbit around the Sun.



What else is known about 2020 CD3?




  • Astronomers have observed 2020 CD3 only about six or seven times so far.

  • Its diameter is likely between 6.2 feet and 11.4 feet.

  • 2020 CD3 has a chaotic orbit.

  • The orbital period of 2020 CD3 around the Earth is estimated to be around 47 days

  • The orbit of 2020 CD3 shows that it entered the Earth’s orbit closer to three years ago.



How did 2020 CD3 go unnoticed for years?



Asteroids like this often go undetected due to their relatively small size.



Finding such small objects is basically an accident. And there are probably many more mini-moons orbiting the Earth that we haven’t spotted yet.



The faintness of 2020 CD# and its highly-variable orbit are also cited as reasons.



When was the last time an asteroid was found orbiting the Earth?



A three-feet-wide asteroid called 2006 RH120 orbited the Earth for 18 months between 2006 and 2007. It’s expected to return in August 2028.



 



Picture Credit : Google


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