Astronomers discover Earth has a 2nd moon — for now

An image of the Earth from the moon. (Getty/releon8211)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Astronomers have discovered a mini-moon orbiting Earth.

NBC reported that a visiting mini-moon is a "cosmic squatter" in our planet's orbit.

The mini-moon is actually a tiny asteroid called 2020 CD3 and was spotted Feb. 15 from Tuscon, Arizona.


“BIG NEWS,” Kacper Wierzchos, a researcher with the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab, tweeted Tuesday. “Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3. On the night of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object.”

The object is about 6 feet to 11 feet across and it has reportedly been in Earth's orbit for about three years, NBC reported.

2020 CD3 is apparently only the second asteroid known to orbit Earth. The first was discovered in 2006 by the Catalina Sky Survey.

More information about the mini-moon may be revealed in the coming weeks and months as astronomers observe the object.

It's unclear if and when the mini-moon will exit the Earth's orbit.