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Quote from source:
Astronomers have been busy trying to determine the spin period and composition of Venus’ moon. December 8, 2010, results were announced by JPL/Caltech scientists, led by Michael Hicks.
“Wait a minute; back up”, I hear you ask. “Venus has a Moon?”
Of course it does. Well, kind of…
Let me explain.
It has the rather unfortunate name of 2002 VE68. That is because it was discovered on November 11, 2002 by LONEOS, the Lowell Observatory Near Earth Object Search. 2002 VE68 is an earth orbit-crossing asteroid that has been designated a Potential Hazardous Asteroid by the Minor Planet Center. For obvious reasons, this makes it a very interesting subject of study for JPL scientists.
2002 VE68 used to be a run of the mill, potential impact threat, Near Earth Object. But approximately 7000 years ago it had a close encounter with Earth that kicked it into a new orbit. It now occupies a place in orbit around the Sun where at its closest it wanders inside the orbit of Mercury and at its furthest it reaches just outside the orbit of the Earth. It is now in a 1:1 orbital resonance with Venus.
The "year" for VE68 is shorter than the Earth year, clocking in at a little under 225 days.
This is almost exactly the same as the "year" of the planet Venus...both VE68 and Venus are travelling around the Sun nearly in lock-step.
Because its orbit is centered on the Sun, VE68 is not a real satellite of Venus in the sense that the moon is a satellite of the Earth. However, since it appears to travel around Venus, it is called a quasi-satellite.
It [2002 VE68] has a high eccentricity (~ 0.4) and inclination (~ 9°)
Originally posted by Slih_09
It's so small any attempted landing would alter it's orbit. =P
Originally posted by predator0187
reply to post by Devino
Thanks for all the info buddy!!
As for the picture I just copied it from the website, I had no idea it was upside down.