With everything happening in 2020, you can remember the story about the mysterious flying object that fell into the Earth’s orbit September 2020. Unsure of what exactly it was, it was referred to as “SO 2020” and considered a “mini-moon” – used to describe temporary satellites.
By December, NASA researchers determined that it was indeed a piece of man-made space debris: Remnants of 1960s rocket boosters US surveyors used in moon missions. While this was one of the possible explanations for the mini-moon since it was spotted in September, it was not until it came closest to Earth from December 1. That astronomers were able to confirm its identity.
But if you missed Rocket Booster’s appearance in December, you’re in luck: it will be for a final farewell victory this afternoon. Here’s how to see it.
How to see the final class of Mini-Moon / Rocket Booster
Today, the mini-moon / 1960 space debris would be 140,000 miles from Earth, or 58% of the way between Earth and the Moon, According to EarthSky. And while it is not enough to be able to see with the naked eye, we have a chance to capture its final journey, thanks Virtual Telescope Project in Rome.
The Italian astronomer and astronomer, Gianluca Masi, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project, described today’s event as follows:
After a very close flight last December, 2020 SO is safely coming very close again, this time to say farewell. As we know, it is the booster of Surveyor 2 space mission, which was temporarily captured by our planet. Soon, this artificial mini-moon will leave our neighborhood, entering a new orbit around the sun. We’ll Say It Goodbye, Live: Join Us From The Comfort Of Your Home!
To see the last pass of the mini-moon, Tune in to the virtual telescope project’s live feed here. According to Massey, it will be most visible above the group’s robotic telescope in central Italy, starting at 5 pm E.T.
What happens to the mini-moon after this?
While the rocket booster will no longer appear after all, it will slowly drift, eventually leaving Earth’s orbit in March 2021. After this, it will start orbiting the Sun. We wish it all the best in its future endeavors.