"Earth has captured an asteroid that's spending time in space acting as a mini-moon, or baby moon, to our planet. "Orbit integrations...indicate that this object is temporarily bound to the Earth," the IAU filing reads. "No evidence of perturbations due to solar radiation pressure is seen, and no link to a known artificial object has been found. Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged."
"You read that right: no link to artificial objects has been found meaning this is likely a straggler space rock hurtling through the solar system, and not a gift from aliens or smugglers in space."
"They had long thought there was something strange about Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, which is a giant aggregation containing thousands of individual galaxies intermingled with hot gas and dark matter. X-ray telescopes had spied a curious curved edge to it."
"Black holes are famous for gorging on infalling matter, but they will also expel prodigious amounts of material and energy in the form of jets. Scientists at first doubted their explanation however, because the cavity was so big; you could fit 15 of our own Milky Way galaxies in a row into the hole. And that meant any black hole explosion would have to have been unimaginably prodigious."
"In some ways, this blast is similar to how the eruption of Mount St Helens (volcano) in 1980 ripped off the top of the mountain," said Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, and lead author of the study."
“It’s the kind of behaviour that’s more often associated with domesticated animals or those kept in captivity.”
"The orbit isn’t stable, so eventually 2020 CD3 will be flung away from Earth. “It is heading away from the Earth-moon system as we speak,” says Grigori Fedorets at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, and it looks likely it will escape in April."
"However, there are several different simulations of its trajectory and they don’t all agree – we will need more observations to accurately predict the fate of our mini-moon and even to confirm that it is definitely a temporary moon and not a piece of artificial space debris. “Our international team is continuously working to constrain a better solution,” says Fedorets."
There Will Be More.