Asteroid 3753: Earth's Curious Companion
Credit & Copyright: P. Weigert
(York U.) et al.
Earth is not alone. It orbits the Sun with a small companion:
First discovered in 1986 and designated 1986 OT, this five kilometer
rock was recently found to orbit the
while executing a
strange dance with the
. A portion of the asteroid's
is shown above. As the Earth orbits once,
Asteroid 3753 follows the yellow line - while also orbiting the Sun.
Each time around, however, the yellow kidney-bean traced by
3753 shifts slightly - eventually
going from trailing the Earth to leading the Earth.
Every 385 years the cycle repeats.
Because the plane of 3753's orbit is tilted when compared
to the Earth's orbit, the
two will never collide
. In autumn 1997,
Asteroid 3753 will pass below the
Earth's South Pole
100 times the distance to the
. It will, however, be very
faint - about 15th
- 10,000 times fainter than the dimmest star without
are being taken for a good name for this asteroid.
Authors & editors:
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings,
NASA Official: Jay Norris.
A service of:
& Michigan Tech. U.