Spotted and identified April 27, 2016 (though possibly earlier), astronomers calculate that Asteroid 2016 HO3 has been locked in its current orbit for about 100 years. It’s expected to sort of orbit Earth for long enough that it really deserves a prettier name (“quasi-satellite” will not do).

Here are my nominees:

Asteroid 2016 HO3, a.k.a. our…

Little Buddy
Li’l Mo
Dat Boi

*Courtesy Phil Hord

Admittedly, I only did a super quick search to see if this important issue had already been addressed. A friend on Facebook commented that the proper term may be ‘moonlet’.

If you’d like to have a look at Dat Boi, it will take more than staring up at the sky when it’s known to be passing overhead. According to astronomer and Slate (Bad Astronomy blog) author, Phil Plait, “Even at closest approach it’s at about 21st magnitude, or just one-millionth as bright as the faintest star you can see with your unaided eye. It takes a decent telescope to see it at all.”

Here’s Phil Plait’s June 17, 2016 article about the Moonling:
Another Moon for Earth? Well, Not Really, but It Depends on Your Point of View.

And here’s the initial NASA post, published June 15, 2016:
Small Asteroid Is Earth’s Constant Companion


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