Earth has More Than One Moon: Researchers Believe.
A group of scientists have published an article saying that earth has more than one moon. This is more of a technicality than real.
The article published showed that heavenly bodies 1-2 meters large sometimes get caught in the earth’s orbit and this makes them earth moons by definition. During the period they orbit earth they’re essentially moons, researchers have called them ‘mini-moons.’
According to the research team’s white paper:
We refer to them as either temporarily captured objects (TCO) or temporarily captured flybys (TCF) depending on whether they make at least one revolution around Earth (the definition will be refined in section 3). As an homage to the Moon and Austin Powers we usually refer to TCOs and TCFs as “mini-moons” though, to be more precise based on their relative diameters, they may more accurately be considered micro-moons.
Spotting these rocks are apparently incredibly difficult according to the researchers. To date, only one other natural body, aside from the Moon, has ever been observed in our planet’s orbit – a mini-moon spotted in 2006. They’re only with us for a short time and then, they move on to find another place in the cosmos. Essentially these asteroids slip into the Earth’s orbit and then slingshot back into the galaxy.
The international team studying this phenomenon believes there’s probably a few of these mini-moons orbiting the Earth at any given time. The group’s research details methods for detecting and locating them, and according to the team’s white paper, we should be capable of doing so next year:
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will be capable of detecting the largest natural mini-moons and will also detect a substantial number of NEOs that could be artificially induced into becoming mini-moons but the real future for mining asteroids awaits an affordable space-based detection system. Once those assets are in place they will unlock the exploration of the solar system with mini-moons being the first stepping stones.