A fireball that exploded over the Australian desert three years ago may actually have been an extremely rare ‘minimoon,’ according to just-published research.
The initially innocuous fireball was detected on August 22, 2016 thanks to a network of six cameras spanning hundreds of kilometers in total and appropriately called the Desert Fireball Network.
However, now a group of researchers, led by planetary scientist Patrick Shober of Curtin University in Australia, believes that, given the object’s slow velocity and almost vertical trajectory, that it was in fact a temporarily captured orbiter or ‘minimoon,’ a natural satellite pulled in by a planet’s gravity.
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