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Earth's asteroid companion

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Astronomers confirm Earth has an asteroid buddy

By Deborah Byrd in SPACE | October 22, 2017
 

Planetary astronomers – those who work on objects within our own solar system – are meeting last week in Provo, Utah. One of the presentations – from Vishnu Reddy at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory – provided new data an objects discovered in 2016 that appeared to be moving with Earth around the sun. Was it a burned-out rocket booster, tumbling along a peculiar near-Earth orbit around the sun, and only occasionally getting close enough to be studied with even the largest telescopes? Reddy’s recent work says no. The object, called 2016 HO3, isn’t space junk, but instead an ordinary asteroid, albeit a tiny one, similar to many near-Earth objects now known to be zipping past Earth continually.

Except 2016 HO3 isn’t zipping past. It’s traveling with us.

Reddy’s team used with one of the world’s largest telescopes – the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mt. Graham in southeastern Arizona – to learn the true nature of this near-Earth object. A blog post from this observatory reported:

article, with GIF, continues:  http://earthsky.org/space/near-earth-quasi-satellite-2016-ho3-confirmation?mc_cid=4d2056208e&mc_eid=0125c99909

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