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12-09-2002, 10:39   #1
PPC
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Is this moon three?

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tetrad writes "The BBC reports that a new object has been discovered orbiting Earth. It's possible that it's just a piece of space junk, but more likely it is a rock that has been recently (in the last year) captured by our planet's gravitational field. If the object is confirmed to be natural, this would be Earth's third moon. (Did you know there were two already?)" Here's our earlier mention of Earth's alleged second moon. Update: 09/12 04:52 GMT :Reader cscx adds a link to an article running on space.com which says this newfound object may be some trash from the Apollo missions.
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12-09-2002, 11:34   #2
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So what is the difference between a moon and a satellite? Or is the moon just a big satellite? Therefore we have hundreds of man made moons orbiting Earth.

Very interesting didnt know about second moon...
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12-09-2002, 11:42   #3
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Re: Is this moon three?

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Source: dictionary.com

moon
n.
often Moon The natural satellite of Earth, visible by reflection of sunlight and having a slightly elliptical orbit, approximately 356,000 kilometers (221,600 miles) distant at perigee and 406,997 kilometers (252,950 miles) at apogee. Its mean diameter is 3,475 kilometers (2,160 miles), its mass approximately one eightieth that of Earth, and its average period of revolution around Earth 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes calculated with respect to the sun.
A natural satellite revolving around a planet.

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sat·el·lite
n.
Astronomy. A celestial body that orbits a planet; a moon.
Aerospace. An object launched to orbit Earth or another celestial body.

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12-09-2002, 13:11   #4
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Tis trash all right

From BBC

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So, it looks like Earth does not have a new "moon" after all

The latest analysis of the mysterious object called J002E3 suggests it could well be a leftover Saturn V rocket component from one of the Apollo lunar missions.

The suspicious, fast-moving object was discovered on 3 September by Bill Yeung from his observatory in Arizona, US. Initial orbit calculations indicated that it was only about twice as far away as the Moon, and in orbit around the Earth.

At first, astronomers were not sure whether the object was a passing chunk of rock that was captured by the Earth's gravity, or a piece of space junk.

Now the mystery may have been solved thanks to a retrospective analysis of its movement through space. The object is most likely from the Apollo 12 mission, launched on 14 November 1969.

Returned to sender

It seems that the object was in orbit around the Sun until April of this year when it was captured by the Earth's gravity. The capture occurred when the object passed near the Earth's L1 Lagrange point, a region of space where the gravity of the Earth and Sun approximately cancel.

J002E3 is the first known case of an object being captured by the Earth, although Jupiter has been known to capture comets in the same way.

The most recent analysis of J002E3's pre- capture orbit about the Sun shows that it was always inside the Earth's orbit, and that it may have come within the Earth's vicinity in the early 1970s or late 1960s.

This suggests that J002E3 was very likely orbiting the Earth during this period before escaping into solar orbit.

Experts say that it is likely that this object is one of the Apollo Saturn rocket's third stages. The brightness of J002E3 seems to match the expected brightness of such a component.

Analysis of J002E3's orbit suggests that there is a chance of it impacting the Moon in 2003, and an outside possibility of it burning up in the Earth's atmosphere sometime in the next decade or so.
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12-09-2002, 16:33   #5
 
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