Explained: What is Kamo’oalewa?

What is the News?

A study in the journal Communications Earth and Environment has provided details about Kamo’oalewa.

What is Kamo’oalewa?

Kamo’oalewa is a quasi-satellite. This means that it is a near-Earth object that orbits the Sun and yet remains close to the Earth.

Discovered by: This quasi-satellite was discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope in 2006 in Hawaii.

Note: The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System(Pan-STARRS)  is a telescope operated by the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. The telescope’s purpose is to survey the night sky for moving or variable objects and to also gather accurate astrometric and photometric data on previously-detected objects. 

Size: The asteroid is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel. Because of its small size (about 50 meters wide), this quasi-satellite has been difficult for scientists to study and little was known about it so far.

What are the new findings about Kamo’oalewa?

The study has offered insights into where this quasi-satellite could have come from. It has offered three possibilities, which are:

Part of Earth-Moon: It could have broken away from the Moon due to a possible impact, and gone on to orbit the Sun rather than the Earth-like its parent does.

Near-Earth Objects: Captured in its Earth-like orbit from the general population of Near Earth Objects.

Earth’s Trojan Asteroids: It might originate from an as-yet-undiscovered quasi-stable population of Earth’s Trojan asteroids (Trojans are a group of asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet).

Source: This post is based on the articleExplained: What is Kamo’oalewa?published by Indian Express on 16th November 2021.

Print Friendly and PDF