New mini-moon temporarily orbits Earth


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Though not visible to the naked eye, you may have heard about the “mini-moon” that has been caught in the Earth’s orbit.

The mini-moon, named 2020 CD3, is an asteroid that was discovered by astronomers in February. It’s predicted that the asteroid has a diameter of 6-12 feet and will only temporarily orbit the earth. Eventually, 2020 CD3 will break out of the Earth’s orbit and escape back into space. Experts believe the escape into space will occur sometime in April.

Having asteroids in Earth’s orbit is not unusual, but it is rare to spot them due to how faint they are. As technology continues to improve, more mini-moons will likely be discovered.

If you want to head out and look up tonight, look for a first quarter (half full) moon. Venus will be visible to the west shortly after sunset. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the hours before sunrise.

The moon will be directly overhead the constellation Orion after dark on Tuesday. By Thursday, the moon will be waxing gibbous, or 3/4 full. You can look for the Big Dipper rising in the northeast soon after dark all week.

Finally, look at this beautiful picture of the aurora borealis! Isaac Diener captured this photo in Calumet of the northern lights over Lake Superior on February 29.

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