Until recently, many of us earthlings were blissfully unaware that our planet had gained a second moon. But now 2020 CD3 has become such a superstar, we’re using giant telescopes just to catch a glimpse of it.
Part-time paparazzi, full-time astronomers at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii snapped the stunning pictures of the car-sized carbonaceous rock using the 8-meter Gemini North telescope.
The image is actually a combination of three separate images using three different filters to capture our new natural satellite in all its glory.
“Obtaining the images was a scramble for the Gemini team because the object is quickly becoming fainter as it moves away from Earth,” explains Gemini Observatory astronomer John Blakeslee, adding that the new celestial superstar 2020 CD3 is expected to leave us forever some time in April.
Fear not, as there are already rumors circulating of a new generation of mini-moons that could already be orbiting the Earth.
“We expect to find a population of these objects once the Rubin Observatory is operational,” said Grigori Fedorets, the lead astronomer for the Gemini observations, referencing the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, whose sole purpose will be to scan the skies for similar, previously unknown, objects.