On September 17, several researchers from the Halekala Observatory (Hawaii) discovered that a small asteroid or artificial object was approaching Earth.
The news started a long debate on the nature of the rocky object -named 2020 SO-, which many claimed was space “junk”. Now, astronomers say that the asteroid will be trapped by Earth’s gravity, causing it to keeps projecting around you from approximately October 2020 to May 2021, when they estimate that it will leave for other places.
Asteroid 2020 SO may get captured by Earth from Oct 2020 – May 2021. Current nominal trajectory shows shows capture through L2, and escape through L1. Highly-chaotic path, so be prepared for lots of revisions as new observations come in. @renerpho@nrco0ehttps://t.co/h4JaG2rHEdpic.twitter.com/RfUaeLtEWq
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) September 20, 2020
As reported by NASA, The supposed asteroid is scheduled to pass through Earth this Thursday at about 22,000 kilometers per hour, but he wanted to emphasize the fact that it is a common phenomenon and that it does not pose any threat. (Observe asteroid 2020 SO in the solar system simulator).
2020 SW, discovered by @Catalina_sky, is about 15 to 30 ft. wide and will pass by Earth Thurs., Sept. 24, at a distance of about 13,000 miles (22,000 km). Tiny asteroids like 2020 SW approach Earth this closely several times every year and aren’t a threat: https://t.co/xKWtzxLI7Qpic.twitter.com/FpkY77zibw
– NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) September 23, 2020
Mini moon or space junk?
The truth is that the approach of certain large objects to planet Earth, from time to time, is something usual, and They are called minilunas, because they orbit around them for a time.
However, until this strange object gets a little closer, it will be very difficult to determine exactly what it is: if they are indeed the remains of some space object that has been wandering through space, or if it is a mini-moon that could stay orbiting the Earth for a few months.
The hypothesis of some experts is that It is the remains of the Surveyor 2 Centaur rocket, launched on September 20, 1966, by the similarity of its orbit to that of the Earth and its speed
One way or another, what the experts do agree on is that will provide numerous scientific insights that could clarify some unknowns about the materials of space.