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New discovery : Earth has actually two moons

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posted on Dec, 22 2011 @ 04:27 AM
The diagram that Phage has kindly provided proves that 2006 RH120 has indeed experienced a temporary satellite capture by the Earth-Moon system. Whilst this does not mean that it is a true satellite of Earth, it is quite different to the "horseshoe" orbits that Earth Trojans possess. They do not come anywhere near as close to our planet as this object.

posted on Dec, 22 2011 @ 04:39 AM

3753 Cruithne, but it's a quasi satellite and orbits the sun.
edit on 22-12-2011 by Suspiria because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2011 @ 04:51 AM
reply to post by Phage

Now that's a very interesting orbital path you've shown us Phage ... care to elucidate regarding the 2 unusual trajectory changes that I've indicated in the following and provide the science behind them ?

posted on Dec, 22 2011 @ 07:22 AM
There was an interesting NASA web page that I can't find. It said that Earth probably had 6 moons until the current moon was captured and gobbled-up the native moons. They aren't sure when the current moon was captured but it may have been only 500 million years ago or it may have been about 4 billion years ago.

posted on Dec, 22 2011 @ 10:02 AM

Originally posted by clintdelicious
Sorry but this is nothing new. It was even a question on the fantastic tv quiz hosted ny Stephen Fry over here called 'QI'.

Stephen Fry was talking about Cruithne, which was discovered about 25 years ago. However, Fry was wrong to say it was a "second moon". Cruithne does NOT orbit the earth, but is a body that co-orbits the Sun with the Earth.

Earth also has at least one Trojan Asteroid, 2010 TK7 which was discovered in 2010. Trojan Asteroids are also co-orbital, but are NOT moons. Trojan Asteoids hang out in a planet's Lagrange points.

The one mentioned in the OP (2006 RH120) is no longer a satellite of the Earth, so the OP's title perhaps should have been "Earth HAD two moons". However, most astronomers would even say that is not correct. 2006 RH120 was a "temporary satellite capture", and was only held by the earth's gravity for a relatively short time. It is now in orbit around the Sun, and is expected to return near the Earth again in about 17 years.

edit on 12/22/2011 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2011 @ 11:03 AM
reply to post by tauristercus

It is interesting isn't it? I would say that the bend on the left represents a turn around either Lagrange point 1 or 2. The one on the right would be where the object first fell under the influence of the L point.

Bodies can get captured when passing near the Lagrange 1 or Lagrange 2 points. They also are ejected through those points. If the trajectory is just right they can enter an orbit around a Lagrange point but it's an odd looking orbit (ie 2010 TK7).

Here's a couple around the Lunar L points.

An object captured by Jupiter.

edit on 12/22/2011 by Phage because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 23 2011 @ 02:02 AM
I would suggest that it is more a consequence of displaying a 3D orbit on a 2D screen. We have no "depth" or relative motion information in a snapshot like that. Actually, since I have a very accurate orbit integrator installed on my PC, I think I may just input the elements of this object, and see if I can discover anything...

EDIT: Unfortunately, I can't zoom in close enough to see what is going on, although the integrator does a very good job of calculating the close approach distances and times. Hopefully, future versions of the HALLEY software will allow me to study this asteroid's orbit in more detail.
edit on 23-12-2011 by Mogget because: (no reason given)

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