Scientists recently discovered an asteroid traveling alongside Earth during its annual journey around the sun.
The space rock, dubbed 2023 FW13, is considered a “quasi-moon”, which means that it orbits the sun in a similar time frame as Earth does, but is only slightly affected by our planet’s gravity, according to the website. Live Science.
Its diameter is estimated at 15 meters, which is roughly the equivalent of three large parked SUVs, according to the website.
During its orbit around the sun, the rock also revolves around the Earth, 14 million km away.
For comparison, the Moon has a diameter of 3,474 km and is located 364,000 km from Earth.
Some estimates suggest that the rock has been Earth’s “cosmic neighbor” since at least 100 BC, and that it will continue to follow this orbital path until about AD 3700.
The rock was first observed last March by an observatory atop a mountain in Hawaii, and the asteroid’s presence was confirmed by another telescope in Hawaii and two observatories in Arizona before it was officially listed on April 1 by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, a network of scientists responsible for mapping New planets and moons in the solar system.