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Information from the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, which keeps observation records for all known asteroids, shows that the orbit of the minimoon doesn't match the precise orbit of any known human-made object, Kacper Wierzchos, a senior research specialist for the Catalina Sky Survey and co-discoverer of the minimoon, told Space.com. The object's orbit didn't display any perturbations resulting from solar radiation pressure coming from the sun; such wiggles are common for human-made satellites in Earth's orbit.
But Wierzchos said he doesn't want to assume the minimoon is an asteroid quite yet. "The possibility it is artificial still exists, so I am trying to be cautious with every statement," he said. "I'd hate it to be artificial after [everyone is] making a fuss [about the discovery]."
On a good night, the survey can study around 40 near-Earth asteroids, which are typically objects astronomers already know about. But on Feb. 15, something in Catalina's observations looked a little funny and didn't match anything known by astronomers. The duo submitted the discovery to the Minor Planet Center, and other astronomers soon confirmed the find.
In the nights after the discovery, Wierzchos and his collaborators kept following the object to try to determine its orbit. Their calculations showed that, most likely, the object was circling the sun and Earth's gravity snatched it into our planet's orbit sometime in 2017.
Astronomers have observed 2020 CD3 only about six or seven times so far, so they don't have enough information yet to derive a "light curve," which shows the variation in an object's brightness. If they can get that data, Wierzchos said, it may help astronomers determine what kind of asteroid it is (if it is, indeed, an asteroid), how quickly it rotates and how big it is.
Oumuamua was nothing more than an Interstellar Giant Rat Dropping
if you wanted to take a look at an interesting neighboring planet what better way than to capture a nearby rock , stuff it with stuff to do the job then send it on its way
originally posted by: gortex
a reply to: Gothmog
What it looks like is irrelevant , if you wanted to take a look at an interesting neighboring planet what better way than to capture a nearby rock , stuff it with stuff to do the job then send it on its way , beats building a superstructure from scratch.
originally posted by: 0zzymand0s
a reply to: Trueman
Nice. Though if this were a two-player game and I was playing the aliens, I'd just drop several titanium telephone poles at relativistic speeds down Earth's gravity well and sort through the wreckage after the fires went out.