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First Color Image Of Earth’s New Mini-Moon


Astronomers have just revealed the first colored image of Earth's new mini-moon. This new image was created using three filters and shows a small bright dot against a dark background with star trails

A week ago, astronomers discovered a new Moon is orbiting Earth, called 2020 CD3, it has spent the last three years in a roller coaster orbit around Earth.

The object was first detected on February 15 by astronomers Kacper Wierzchos and Theodore Pruyne at Mount Lemmon Observatory (MLO). News of the observation rapidly spread and other astronomers followed up on the details. A team at the International Gemini Observatory (IGO) has now captured a multi-filter image revealing the mysterious object in color.

The stars are trailing because this object is moving relative to the background stars and the 8-meter (26-foot) Gemini North telescope was tracking on this object,” lead astronomer Grigori Fedorets, from Queen’s University Belfast (QU), said in a statement



The orbit of 2020 CD3 around the Earth. The white band is the orbit of the Moon. Tony Dunn via Wikimedia Common


This moon is a few meters across with an orbit that takes it beyond the Earth, past the moon to millions of kilometers, until coming back in again. Observing it is far from easy, which is why it has only been discovered just now after having been around for probably several years.

Taking the images was a scramble for the IGO team because the object is quickly becoming non-visible as it moves away from Earth. It is anticipated to be ejected from Earth’s orbit completely in April,” John Blakeslee, head of Science at the international Gemini Observatory, explained.
2020 CD3 is strongly believed to be of natural origin and in an orbit that will succeed it to be the 2nd mini-moon ever discovered. Fedorets' team and many others are continuously making their observations to learn as much as possible about the object.

Additional observations to refine its position will help us determine this mystery object’s orbit and its possible origin,” said the researcher. “Either way this is a very compelling object and needs more data to determine what it is.

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