What is 2023 FW13?

May 31, 2023

Astronomers have recently discovered a ‘quasi-moon’ called ‘2023 FW13’ that orbits the Earth but is actually gravitationally bound by the Sun.

About 2023 FW13:

  • It is an asteroid which has been designated as a quasi-satellite or a quasi-moon.
  • It is among the few known quasi-moons or satellites that we know of in our solar system.
  • It was identified by experts utilizing the Pan-STARRS telescope situated atop Hawaii’s Haleakala volcano.
  • It has been in Earth's vicinity since 100 BC and will keep circling our planet for at least another 1,500 years, until AD 3700. 
  • Features:
    • The newfound asteroid 2023 FW13 circles the sun in sync with Earth.
    • According to preliminary estimates, its diameter is from 10 to 20 meters.
    • While not gravitationally bound to Earth in any discernible way (like our Moon), the asteroid's bizarre orbit makes it circle our planet occasionally, earning it the name of a quasi-satellite or quasi-moon.
    • At the closest point in its slightly elliptical orbit around Earth, the moon comes within about 223,693 miles (360,000 km) of our planet.

What are quasi-moons?

  • Quasi-moons are also known as 'quasi-satellites' because they appear to orbit our planet in the same way that our natural satellite, the Moon. 
  • It is a space rock that circles the Earth, but is gravitationally bound by the sun.