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Astronomers Find a New Asteroid Sharing Earth’s Orbit

Astronomers have discovered a captive asteroid shadowing Earth in its orbit.


The asteroid, known as 2020 XL5, is only the second of its type ever seen, shepherded by Earth’s gravity into an orbit that is locked in synchrony with our planet’s. It has not shared our orbit for long — a few centuries, probably. And it will not be there in the far future. Simulations indicate that 2020 XL5 will slip out of Earth’s grasp within 4,000 years and head into the wider solar system.

这颗被称为2020 XL5的小行星是有史以来发现的第二颗此类小行星,它被地球的引力引导到一个与我们的星球同步锁定的轨道。它与我们轨道共享的时间并不长——可能只有几个世纪。而且在遥远的将来,它也不会在那里。模拟显示,2020 XL5将在4000年内离开地球的控制范围,并进入太阳系的其他区域。

But its presence offers a tantalizing glimpse of what else might be out there in the local gravitational whirlpools. Some bits might date back to the beginning of the solar system — shades of the building blocks that coalesced into our planet.


Read more at The New York Times