View Full Version : Discussion: Earth's Third Moon Discovered

2004-Sep-04, 04:25 PM
SUMMARY: An amateur astronomer has discovered what could be a new object orbiting the Earth; maybe it's a recently captured space rock, or maybe it's just a remnant from the Apollo program. Whatever it is, the object, dubbed J002E2, seems to orbit the Earth every 50-days in a wide orbit. If it turns out to be natural, the object will become the Earth's 3rd moon (and you only thought we had one), after Cruithne which was discovered in 1986 in a long erratic orbit. (BBC News Story)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Sep-05, 02:36 AM
Are there any more details of this?

2004-Sep-06, 05:17 AM

It is part of Apollo 12.

I wonder what happened to all the other rockets?
Some of them impacted the Moon, IIRC.

2004-Sep-06, 01:47 PM
Hmm...well, it would be nice to bring it back down to earth. :)

2004-Sep-06, 04:54 PM
Whoa, whoa, whoa...........we have a 3rd moon? :huh:
Where's the 2nd? How come we can't see them in the night sky? :mellow:

Algenon the mouse
2004-Sep-06, 06:19 PM
That is the first I heard of a second moon as well. It is probably an asteriod of some sort that is too small to be picked up by our naked eye. Is this what it is?

2004-Sep-06, 06:26 PM
Do either have a stable and permanent Earth orbit, or do they only pass close on their solar trajectories?

2004-Sep-06, 07:58 PM
Yes, Algenon, you're right and yes, ASEI, it does have a permanent path around the earth.

2004-Sep-06, 08:16 PM
Well, if the second one is a large enough asteroid, maybe we could mine it for fuel or something. Use it as a material sink for a space station.

2004-Sep-07, 12:10 AM
Exactly what I've been thinking. ;)

2004-Sep-07, 11:16 AM
Originally posted by Algenon the mouse@Sep 6 2004, 06:19 PM
That is the first I heard of a second moon as well. It is probably an asteroid of some sort that is too small to be picked up by our naked eye. Is this what it is?
This story surprised me as well! I remember reading about an asteroid that keeps us company in our orbit around the Sun. I seem to remember it was a little closer to the Sun than the Earth & that its orbit causes it to sometimes overtake us. I donīt think there is any risk of a collision.

Perhaps someone remembers the article & can refresh our memories by posting a link to it on here.

2004-Sep-07, 05:29 PM
The second 'moon' is called Cruithne
(from Irish mythology, incidentally)
and is actually a near Earth object locked in a harmonic orbit with the Earth, rather than a proper Moon.


Algenon the mouse
2004-Sep-09, 03:23 AM
Ah, I see. So not really a moon, but a moon doggie. (sorry, got sidetracked reading those skits..)

Interesting though. Looks like the orbit of Cruithne might be deteroritating a bit.

2004-Sep-09, 03:26 AM
It's our own little itty-bitty ring fragment. ;)