2021-11-13

Research: the strange asteroid Kamo ` oalewa may be a fragment of the moon

By yqqlm yqqlm

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bc5e2569a8972aa - Research: the strange asteroid Kamo ` oalewa may be a fragment of the moon

Kamo ` oalewa was found in 2016. It is about 40m wide and rotates every 28 minutes. Technically speaking, it orbits the sun, but it also orbits the earth. Its distance from the earth is 13.6 times that of the moon. This makes it a “quasi satellite”

although it is relatively close to the earth, the research on Kamo ` oalewa is very difficult because it is small and weak, and it can be seen only a few weeks in April every year. Therefore, in the new work, astronomers studied this elusive rock through the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) and Lowell discovery telescope (LDT) earlier this year

the research team measured the spectrum of the celestial body, that is, the light pattern reflected from its surface. Because different elements reflect and absorb light of different wavelengths, scientists can use the spectrum of an object to determine what it is composed of. In this case, Kamo ` oalewa is mainly silicate

the team said that this fingerprint does not match any other known near Earth Asteroids. The closest match is the lunar rock brought back by Apollo astronauts, which shows that Kamo ` oalewa is a fragment of the moon and broke at some time – perhaps in some impact event. This will make it the first known asteroid from the moon, and its unusual orbit adds weight to this hypothesis

ReNu Malhotra, co-author of this research paper, said: “an ordinary near Earth Asteroid is very unlikely to spontaneously enter a quasatellite orbit like Kamo ` oalewa. It will not stay in this specific orbit for a long time. It will only be about 300 years in the future. We estimate that it reached this orbit about 500 years ago.”

next, The research team will further focus on tracing the origin of Kamo ` oalewa