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Business News/ Science / News/  Scientists discover 2nd moon near Earth that is going to stay for at least 1,500 years

Scientists discover 2nd moon near Earth that is going to stay for at least 1,500 years

Scientists have discovered a new asteroid dubbed 2023 FW13, which is considered a 'quasi-moon' or ‘quasi-satellite’ of Earth

Moon image (Representative image) (AP)Premium
Moon image (Representative image) (AP)

Scientists have discovered a new asteroid along Earth recently. The asteroid dubbed 2023 FW13, is considered a "quasi-moon" or "quasi-satellite". The new celestial object orbits the sun in a similar time frame as Earth does, as per the media reports. The quai-moon is estimated to be 50 feet (15 metres). While orbiting the Sun, the quasi-moon also circles the Earth, coming within nine million miles (14 million kilometres) of Earth.

For comparison, the moon has a diameter of 2,159 miles (3,474 km) and comes within 364,00 km of Earth at the closest point of its orbit.

The Pan-STARRS observatory first observed the 2023 FW13in March this year. Later the existence of asteroid was confirmed by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii and two observatories in Arizona before being officially listed on April 1 by the Minor Planet Center at the International Astronomical Union--a team of scientists that designates new planets and other celestial objects.

According to a Live Science report, the quasi-moon has been Earth's cosmic neighbour since around 100 BC. The space rock will continue to follow this orbital path until around 3700 AD.

Notably, this quasi-satellite isn't on a collision course with Earth despite hovering relatively close to the planet.

Alan Harris, an astronomer at the Space Science Institute, told Sky & Telescope, "The good news is, such an orbit doesn't result in an impacting trajectory 'out of the blue".

2023 FW 13 is not Earth's only quasi-companion; a different quasi-satellite known as Kamo'oalewa was discovered in 2016. The rock sticks similarly close to our planet during its orbit around the sun. And as per a study, some researchers believe that this new quai-moon could actually be a fragment of Earth's moon.

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Updated: 01 Jun 2023, 08:00 AM IST
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