According to a recent study carried out by Hungarian astronomers, the Moon is not the only natural satellite orbiting our planet. As the researchers reported, two extra, hidden moons, entirely made of dust, are orbiting the Earth.
As reported by the Hungarian astronomers in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal, the scientists managed to take images of those two dusty clouds that orbit the Earth at about 250,000 miles away, roughly at the same distance like the Moon. The two dust clouds have been named after the Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski who was the first to identify them in 1961.
“The Kordylewski clouds are two of the toughest objects to find, and though they are as close to Earth as the moon, are largely overlooked by researchers in astronomy. It is intriguing to confirm that our planet has dusty pseudo-satellites in orbit alongside our lunar neighbor,” explained Judit Sliz-Balogh, an astronomer at the Hungarian Eotvos Lorand University.
Two Extra, Hidden Moons Are Orbiting The Earth
Each Kordylewski cloud is about 15 by 10 degrees wide, or equal to 30 by 20 lunar disks in the night sky, as reported by National Geographic. That means that each of the Kordylewski clouds measures about 65,000 by 45,000 miles in actual size. Even though the clouds, as a whole, are vast, they are formed by dust particles of only a few micrometers across, reflecting the sunlight.
“It is very difficult to detect the Kordylewski clouds against the galactic light, starlight, zodiacal light, and sky glow,” added Gabor Horvath, another co-author of the study. “The investigation of the dynamics of Kordylewski clouds may very well end up being most important from the point of view of space navigation safety,” he added.
Also, according to the Hungarian astronomers, there might be many more similar clouds in the vicinity of our planet, orbiting the Earth.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.