Video - I bet you didn’t know that Earth has what could be called a second moon. What we’re most familiar with is the one moon that we all know, love and celebrate. But our moon is not the only natural satellite orbiting the Earth.
In 1997, another quasi-orbital satellite of Earth was discovered. It is called 2753 Cruithne. What makes this astroid interesting is that it doesn’t orbit the Earth in a perfect ellipse, but follows what is called a “horseshoe” orbit. What’s even more fascinating is that it takes nearly 800 years for Cruithne to complete one horseshoe orbit around Earth. Here’s what this means:
“A body on a simple horseshoe orbit around the Earth moves toward it, then turns round and moves away. Once it’s moved so far away it’s approaching Earth from the other side, it turns around and moves away again.”
Still don’t get it. Below is a video that shows what Cruithne’s orbit might look like if Earth was stationary. And why should we consider Cruithne our second moon? Astronomers refer to two of Saturn’s natural satellites that follow this configuration as moons, so why shouldn’t we claim Cruithne is our second moon.
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