The mysterious space rock may be part of the moon

If it looks like a piece of the moon and behaves that way, then the asteroid Kamo’oalewa must be a piece of the moon as well. to be, make astronomers.

In 2016, astronomers discovered Kamo’oalewa; Asteroid the size of a Ferris wheel at the fairgrounds. The rock, like the Earth, revolves around the Sun, but remains somewhat close to our planet. The unusual orbit and apparent mass configuration have led astronomers to suggest that Kamo’oalewa may have been part of our moon.

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Kamo’oalewa is a so-called quasi-satellite: during its orbit around the Sun, this near-Earth body stays very close to us. Sometimes Kamo’oalewa is right in front of us on that lap, and sometimes the space rock is a little behind. The asteroid is between 45 and 60 meters in diameter, about the size of a Ferris wheel at the fairgrounds.

Because of the unusual orbit of space rocks, we can only see Kamo’oalewa for a few weeks in April each year. Because the asteroid is not that big and not that bright, and at least 14.4 million kilometers from Earth, only large telescopes can detect it. One such example is the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii, which discovered the asteroid in April 2016.

light spectrum

also with big binocular telescope (LBT) On Mount Graham in Arizona, astronomers can see even closer. The researchers behind the new study they recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment From their last appearance in April 2021, it was stated that Kamo’oalewa was most likely part of our moon.

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According to the researchers, the specific light spectrum that the nearby Earth reflects when it catches sunlight corresponds to that of the moon. or more specifically; With the light spectrum of pieces of moon rock collected during NASA’s Apollo lunar missions. According to astronomers, Kamo’oalewa’s light spectrum returns completely Not All other asteroid fragments they examined matched.

sliver moon?

So it seems that Kamo’oalewa reflects light in the same way as the moon. According to the researchers, this means that the Earth near Earth may also consist of the same group of “space grains and stardust”. Whether this is indeed the case remains to be seen in further research. Once we get confirmation, the next question is, of course, how did Kamo’oalewa separate from the moon?

Resources: Nature Communications Earth and EnvironmentAnd University of Arizona

BILD: Addie Graham/University of Arizona

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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