Earth has tiny temporary second moon, after "capturing" asteroid

With the illustrious name Temporarily Captured Object 2020 CD3, Earth's new moon might not be entertaining a manned landing at any time in the future. Especially since it's only a few feet wide. But the tiny sattelite, spotted February 15 with the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, is something to celebrate all the same.

Our new moon is probably between 1.9 and 3.5 metres across, or roughly the size of a car, making it no match for Earth’s primary moon. It circles our planet about once every 47 days on a wide, oval-shaped orbit that mostly swoops far outside the larger moon’s path.

The orbit isn’t stable, so eventually 2020 CD3 will be flung away from Earth. “It is heading away from the Earth-moon system as we speak,” says Grigori Fedorets at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, and it looks likely it will escape in April.

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Quiz: pancake or moon?

Pancakes are delicious, and they can also look a lot like moons, as proven in Alternative Moons by Nadine Schlieper and Robert Pufleb. I tried my hand at making a few lunar flapjacks and gathering up some mouthwatering moons. Answers in the comments! Read the rest

Look at Saturn's magnificent moon Titan!

NASA just released this beautiful composite infrared view of Saturn's moon Titan. The Cassini spacecraft captured the image last month during its flyby about 6,200 miles above the moon's surface. From NASA:

The view looks toward terrain that is mostly on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Titan. The scene features the parallel, dark, dune-filled regions named Fensal (to the north) and Aztlan (to the south), which form the shape of a sideways letter "H."

Several places on the image show the surface at higher resolution than elsewhere. These areas, called subframes, show more detail because they were acquired near closest approach. They have finer resolution, but cover smaller areas than data obtained when Cassini was farther away from Titan.

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