That's no moon! Earth's new asteroid pal proven to not be junk

Astronomers at the University of Arizona confirmed that asteroid 2016 HO3 is not a bunch of space garbage.

    2017/10/18

NSFW    SPACE — Astronomers have confirmed an asteroid discovered last summer isn't space debris.

Dubbed Earth's "new constant companion" by NASA last summer, 2016 HO3 is a small asteroid orbiting the Sun on a trajectory that overlaps with the planet.

The space agency speculates that it is between 120 and 300 feet in size. Some thought it was actually "space junk" — debris from old rockets and satellites — but new research has confirmed that it is indeed an asteroid.

The asteroid is a quasi-satellite to Earth. It orbits closer to the sun than Earth does in 6-month period, while the rest of time it falls further behind. This is different to natural satellites, such as the Moon, where orbits are tied solely to a planet or a star.

The findings were presented by University of Arizona Professor Vishnu Reddy at the annual Division for Planetary Sciences Conference of the American Astronomical Society in Provo, Utah.
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