Asteroid Orbiting With Earth, Known As ‘Quasi-Moon,’ Will Be Around For Hundreds Of Years, Scientists Say 

Astronomers have recently discovered an asteroid that joined Earth’s orbit around the sun. The asteroid has been named 2023 FW13, and is also referred to as a “quasi-moon” or “quasi-satellite” since it orbits the sun in a similar time frame as the Earth does.

However, the asteroid is only “slightly influenced” by Earth’s gravitational pull, according to reports from

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The asteroid itself was initially discovered on March 28th, 2023 by the Pan-STARRS survey telescope, which is located on the top of Haleakalā, a dormant volcano in Maui, Hawaii. Data shows the asteroid is only 50 feet in diameter, and is orbiting about nine million miles away from Earth. 

The Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, the Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter soon after confirmed the asteroid’s presence in the Earth’s vicinity. 

The Minor Planet Center officially listed the asteroid at the International Astronomical Union; an organization that is responsible for identifying and designating titles to new planets, moons, and other astronomical objects in our solar system. 

Journalist and astronomer Adrien Coffinet was the first one to classify the asteroid as a “quasi-moon,” after using an orbit simulator developed by Tony Dunn, another astronomer. Coffinet used the model to find that 2023 FW13 travels around the sun the same amount of time the Earth does, while also circling our planet. 

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2023 FW13 has seemingly been joining Earth in its orbit since 100 BCE, and is likely to continue following our planet until 3700. 

“It seems to be the longest quasi-satellite of Earth known to date,” Coffinet said.

“Fortunately, despite hovering relatively close to our planet, this asteroid is unlikely to be on a collision course with the Earth. The good news is, such an orbit doesn’t result in an impacting trajectory ‘out of the blue,’” Harris said.

According to Richard Binzel, an astronomer at MIT, “astronomical objects such as this one could act as stepping stones to Mars, meaning that they could soon be accessed by spacecraft due to their relative low velocity caused by their near-match to the Earth’s orbit. A space mission trying to reach such asteroids makes sense as a way to practice deep-space missions, before committing a crew and hardware to a longer mission to Mars. It’s a shakedown cruise.”