Earth’s new mini-moon seen in full color, but experts questioning if the asteroid is space junk 

It was revealed in a grainy black and white photo, but astronomers have just released the first colored image of Earth’s new mini-moon.

Called 2020 CD3, the asteroid has been orbiting our Earth for three years and was spotted on February 15 using the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona.

The recent image was created using three filters and shows a tiny bright dot against a dark background with star trails.

Although the discovery is being celebrated, this is only the second mini-moon to orbit Earth, one expert believes the object may be human-made space debris due to the fact it has high reflectivity.

Astronomers have just released the first colored image of Earth’s new mini-moon. The recent image was created using three filters and shows a tiny bright dot against a dark background with star trails

Grigori Fedorets, the lead astronomer for the observations, explained the object could be a rare natural rocky object, or it could be something humans put into space decades ago — essentially space debris.

‘Either way this is a very compelling object and needs more data to determine what it is,’ said Fedorets.

Catalina Sky Survey is a NASA funded project supported by the Near Earth Object Observation Program (NEOO) under the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

The organization is based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona and is focused on tracking and discovering near-Earth objects.

Although the discovery is being celebrated, this is only the second mini-moon to orbit Earth, one expert believes the object may be human-made space debris due to the fact it has high reflectivity

Although the discovery is being celebrated, this is only the second mini-moon to orbit Earth, one expert believes the object may be human-made space debris due to the fact it has high reflectivity 

BIG NEWS (thread 1/3). Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object. Here are the discovery images. pic.twitter.com/zLkXyGAkZl

— Kacper Wierzchos (@WierzchosKacper) February 26, 2020

The mini-moon was seen in the night sky of February 15th by astronomers Kacper Wierzchos and Teddy Pruyne.

The team released a grainy black and white image of the new mini-moon on February 24, following confirmation from Minor Planet Center, a branch of the International Astronomical Union, that the object was in fact orbiting Earth.

But now, the team has developed the mini-moon in a colorful image.

John Blakeslee, Head of Science at the international Gemini Observatory, said: ‘Obtaining the images was a scramble for the Gemini team because the object is quickly becoming fainter as it moves away from Earth’.



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