The moon is the most recognizable object in the night sky. The dictionary describes the moon as the Earth's only natural satellite as well as the closest astronomical object to us. The reason the dictionary calls it a natural satellite is because it's a naturally occurring celestial body that orbits our planet versus a manmade object placed into orbit around Earth in order to relay communications signals or transmit scientific data. Does the Earth have more than one natural satellite? Many people will argue the fact that Earth has only one, the moon. I'm sure that about 400 years ago when Copernicus also made the statement that now the Earth orbits the sun, many people argued the validity of such a statement. We may have discovered a new satellite that orbits the earth.
Cruithne, is a 5-km satellite, which takes 770 years to complete a horseshoe-shaped orbit around Earth, and will remain in a suspended state around Earth for at least 5,000 years.
Cruithne, was discovered in 1986, and then it was found to have a highly eccentric orbit in 1997. The satellite can be seen with the naked eye, but scientists at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London were intrigued with its peregrinations to come up with a description of its path.1 Astronomers have long known that the solar system is full, relatively speaking, of asteroids. Most asteroids orbit the sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, but a handful cross Earth's orbital path around the sun.
Fathi Namouni, one of the researchers, now at Princeton University and his colleagues discovered several new types of orbital motion, which showed that some asteroids that cross Earth's path may be trapped in orbits caused by the gravitational dance between Earth and the sun. The finding is based...