According to new evidence, a celestial object tracking Earth’s orbit approximately 9 miles distant from the planet is a Moon fragment. According to astronomers, the debris was thrown into space after an ancient lunar impact.
The asteroid Kamo’oalewa is about the size of a Ferris wheel, yet it is much fainter than the weakest star visible to the human eye. The asteroid was discovered in 2016, but little information about it was available until today. To observe it in detail, astronomers needed the greatest powerful telescopes available. Kamo’oalewa travels around the sun in the same orbit as a planet. There are five of them on Earth, including Kamo’oalewa.
What astronomers have said about the Moon fragment:
The cause of the asteroid’s launch into orbit is unknown, but the dramatic event occurred between 500 and 100,000 years ago, according to the researchers.
An astronomer at the University of Kent, Professor Stephen Lowry said that the research isn’t conclusive but the team has presented a compelling argument that Kamo’oalewa might be a collisional component from such a severe event.
Using the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham in the United States, Benjamin Sharkey and Vishnu Reddy of the University of Arizona led a team to analyze the spectrum of light reflecting from Kamo’oalewa.
The spectrum of reflected light matched lunar rocks from NASA’s Apollo missions, they discovered. This indicated that the asteroid came from the Moon. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment by the researchers.