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The "Kamo Oliwa" particle... Has the Earth a "new moon"?  |  Science and Technology |  The latest discoveries and studies from DW Arabic |  DW

The “Kamo Oliwa” particle… Has the Earth a “new moon”? | Science and Technology | The latest discoveries and studies from DW Arabic | DW

Astronomers say recent data indicates that the particle known as Kamoʻoalewa may have separated from the moon by a meteor impact that occurred millions of years ago, before it became a “quasi-moon” of the planet.

The data indicate that the space rock is similar in composition to samples collected from a rock formation called Fra Mauro in one of the lunar highlands, according to what was published on the New York Times website.

Camu Oliwa – which is 165 feet long – was discovered in 2016 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope based in Hawaii. The researchers named this strange asteroid (469219) Kamoʻoalewa, meaning “an oscillating celestial body.”

Because it orbits the Earth frequently, this shy particle never approaches more than 9 million miles from Earth, which is 38 times farther than the distance between the Moon and Earth, and the farthest distance between Earth and the strange part is 25 million miles.

Astronomers’ calculations indicate that the “new moon” began tracking our planet in a relatively stable manner about a century ago, and is expected to continue orbiting the Earth for several centuries to come.

But where exactly did Kamu Oliwa come from? Especially since it is difficult to study such a particle with telescopes due to its small dimensions and its tendency to hide in the shadows.

according to Study published in the journal Earth and Environment Communications A team of scientists reported that they may have been able to solve the mystery, as while observing Camu Oliwa during brief moments when it was covered in sunlight, astronomers concluded that it appears to be composed of the same type of rocky material found on the moon’s surface.

“The space particle is indeed an extremely small version of the moon, and that based on its orbit and composition, Camu Oliwa may be a part of the moon, separated from it by a past meteorite impact,” said Benjamin Sharkey, a graduate student at the University of Arizona and lead author of the study.

Scientists say Kamu Oliwa may look like a miniature moon, but it is not. Unlike the Moon, which is bound by the Earth’s gravity, this particle is more bound by the Sun’s gravity, which means that even if the Earth ceases to exist, Kamu Oliwa will continue to revolve around the Sun, a phenomenon known as “quasi-moon”.

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Astronomers confirm the presence of four other objects, such as “Kamu Oliwa” next to the Earth, but it differs from it by having a more stable orbit.

It is worth noting that in April of 2017, “Kamu Oliwa” was brightly lit when the Earth was located between it and the sun, and when astronomers looked at it through two telescopes in Arizona and used the reflected light to identify its minerals, they saw a lot of silicates and minerals scattered in rocky bodies found in the solar system.

Follow-up observations confirmed that “Kamu Oliwa” silicate is very similar to that found on the Moon. But scientists also did not rule out the idea that “Kamu Oliwa” was part of an asteroid that had previously been torn apart and subsequently linked by gravity to the Earth and the Moon.

“The only way to be sure is to send a spacecraft to this small object,” said Paul Byrne, an astronomer at Washington University in St. Louis, which is what China already intends to do by sending a space probe to land on “Kamo Oliwa” and collect samples to return it to Earth. later in the decade.

“Until then, there remains the possibility that, on our journey through space, we may have the remnants of a lunar impact,” Dr. Byrne adds.

a.h/ a.h