You have probably heard of Earth’s moon called – the Moon. But what about the other less known moons of Earth? „Moons“ are any natural objects in a stable orbit around a planet.
The international Space Station, TV and GPS satellites, frozen astronaut urine from the time when it was thrown away… They also orbit around Earth but are artificial objects.
By far, the largest second moon of Earth is the one created when the planet Theia crashed into Earth 4.5 billion years ago. After the apocalyptic collision of the two planets, a huge amount of debris flew out into space and created two moons.
Pictured: Theia crashing into the early proto – Earth, sometimes also known as Gaia. The remnants will form into two moons
Early Earth had two moons for some time, until they collided into one, which you now see in the sky.
Pictured: Early Earth with 2 moons
Among astrophysicists there are also other less accepted theories, like the one that our Moon once orbited around Venus, until Earth gravitationally stole it.
In (much) more recent times, various astronomers claimed to have seen other moons; however, advanced analyses of Earths orbit indicate that there are no larger bodies in its vicinity. And because the Solar System is much calmer and more ordered today, the chances of forming a new moon are (thankfully) small.
Still, smaller natural satellites do sometimes occur. From 2006 to 2007, for 12 months Earth had RH120 as its moon. The 3 meter small asteroid made four circles around the Earth before its orbit destabilized and threw it on a trajectory to the opposite side of the Solar System. It will visit us again in 2038.
Furthermore, there is also this unusual case of object 2016 HO3 pictured below:
Pictured: Path of the celestial body 2016 HO3 in yellow. It is very stable. Over 70 meters in diameter, it sometimes orbits the Sun and sometimes the Earth. Is it a half moon?