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Research: Mysterious quasi-satellites orbiting the earth may be debris from the moon | Oscillating Stars | Asteroids | Quasi-satellites

[Epoch Times December 06, 2021](Epoch Times reporter Zhang Yufei compiled a report) In recent years, scientists have been exploring an earth-orbiting asteroid named “Kamo’oalewa” that was first discovered in 2016. Where did it come from? Research published by astronomers recently confirmed that it is most likely a fragment of the moon.

This spring, a team of astronomy teams from the University of Arizona in the United States observed through the 8.4-meter large binoculars on Graham Mountain in southern Arizona and found that the light spectrum reflected by the oscillating star was similar to that obtained during the NASA Apollo mission. The spectra of the moon’s rocks match, indicating that it may be lunar debris ejected into space after the moon was hit by a meteorite.

The lead author of the research report, astronomer Ben Sharkey of the University of Arizona, said: “This spring we have carried out many required follow-up observations. We have checked the spectrum of every near-Earth asteroid that can be visited. There is no better explanation than moon fragments.”

When observing this asteroid, astronomers found that it was unusually bright red, indicating that it was made of silicate material.

In addition, the orbit of this asteroid is another clue to the origin of the moon, and its orbit is relatively close to the orbit of the Earth-Moon system.

The oscillating star simulates the orbit. (Tiouraren/Wikimedia Commons)

In fact, the oscillating star was discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii in 2016. It was originally numbered 2016 HO3. Its diameter is between 45 meters and 57 meters. It is about the size of a Ferris wheel and the closest distance to the earth is 14.5 million. kilometer.

Scientists pointed out at the time that the “oscillating star” has orbited the earth for nearly a century and will continue to rotate around the earth for hundreds of years in the future. Because it is too far away from the earth, it is still not a true satellite of the earth. It can only be designated as a “quasi-satellite.” In addition, it has a stable orbit, so there is no risk of hitting the earth.

Because this kind of near-Earth asteroid is weak in brightness and 4 million times dimmer than the darkest star visible to the naked eye, it is very difficult to observe, and it is only possible to observe it with the most powerful telescope of mankind. In addition, due to its special orbit, it can only be observed from the earth in April each year.

So far, scientists have detected five quasi-satellites of the earth, but the only one that has been actually studied is the oscillating star. Because several other quasi-satellites are more difficult to observe and cannot be analyzed.

However, researchers are not yet sure how the oscillating star broke away from the moon, because other similar asteroids that may have originated on the moon have not yet been discovered. To find out its essential attributes, the only way is through sampling and testing, which may be possible in the next ten years.

The research results have been published in the journal Nature.

Editor in charge: Han Yu#

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