WATCH OUT… Or Not?

By: Amy Dominguez

Researchers from the University of Arizona have announced on November 11, 2021, that an asteroid may be a long-lost piece of the moon. The name of this asteroid or mini-moon is Kamo’ Oalewa.

Kamo’ Oalewa is a quasi-satellite meaning that it orbits around the sun, but remains close to Earth. Kamo’ Oalewa was discovered in Hawaii in 2016 by the PanSTARRS telescope. This asteroid is about the size of a Ferris Wheel which is between 150 and 190 feet in diameter and gets as close as 9 million miles.

With it being a quasi-satellite we can see it pass Earth for a few weeks every April. Regardless of its size, it can only be seen with a large telescope. Researchers at the University of Arizona are not quite sure how the asteroid could have broken off of the moon. They are not quite sure because there are no other asteroids with lunar origins. Ben Sharky, the author of the paper’s lead, has stated, “I looked through every near-Earth asteroid spectrum we had access to, and nothing matched”.

Although there have been some arguments about whether or not Kamo’ Oalewa is a long-lost piece of the moon, there has been some research that proves that it is. As stated before, the asteroid and the Earth have very similar orbits. Although, Kamo’ Oalewa has the slightest tilt to it.

As time passes by the researchers will continue to study this asteroid. In the future, we will truly figure out if Kamo’ Oalewa is a long-lost piece of the moon. But due to the research now, I believe that we will be able to find out sooner.

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