Check out this ‘mini-moon’ that’s orbiting Earth

Discovery made on Feb. 15

(Photo by Min An)

A tiny object that has gotten sucked into orbit around Earth is acting as a temporary mini-moon.

The object, which is actually an asteroid, is only the second asteroid known to orbit Earth, according to CNN.

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Kacper Wierzchos and Theodore Pruyne, both researcher specialists for the Catalina Sky Survey, made the discovery on Feb. 15 and posted it to Twitter.

Researchers said the asteroid, known as 2020 CD3, is likely between 6.2 feet and 11.4 feet in diameter.

"Over the next few weeks, more observations are likely to come in," Pruyne told CNN. "This will better help us understand the origin of the object, as well as a more accurate timeline of when the object came into orbit."

The first known asteroid to orbit Earth, also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey, is known to astronomers as TCO, or Temporarily Captured Object, and some scientists believe it was an artificial object, as it appeared similar to Apollo-era rocket boosters.

Regardless, researchers said with increasing capabilities, it's likely more temporarily captured objects "will be discovered in the coming years, allowing for improved definition and characterization of this strange class of near-Earth objects."

While it sounds pretty cool that Earth (kind of) has two moons at the moment, researchers said the asteroid will drop out of orbit in April, at which time it will jump to a heliocentric orbit, which means it will orbit the sun instead.

About the Author:

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.