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Does Venus have its own moon? A strange object was found on a space poster, which turned out to be not a fiction at all

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
The mysterious Zoozve turned out to be a real neighbor of Venus, but with a misspelled name. Source: Getty/Latif Nasser/collage OBOZ.UA

Canadian-American researcher, writer, and presenter Latif Nasser discovered a strange space object called Zoozve on his 2-year-old son's astronomy poster depicting the solar system and was forced to investigate to uncover its mystery. It turned out that this was not the author's imagination at all.

Nasser told about his investigation in a thread on the social network X (formerly known as Twitter). He even had to involve his friends from NASA in solving the cosmic mystery.

The researcher said that he happened to look at an astronomy poster in his son's room and discovered that there was a satellite called Zoozve next to Venus. He was very surprised because he had never heard of Venus having its own moon before.

So, first of all, he went to Google and tried to find out whether such a space object exists, and whether science knows anything about Venus having a satellite. The answer to both questions was negative.

Nasser then asked his friend at NASA, Liz Landau, similar questions. But the answer was again negative. Of course, this did not satisfy the researcher, as he could not understand whether he was dealing with mere fiction or whether there was a significant gap in his knowledge of space.

Nasser then turned to the source of his problem, so to speak. He found the contacts of the illustrator who had drawn the poster and contacted him. The artist assured him that he was not an amateur and that he had taken all the names and objects depicted on the posters from a scientifically approved list of satellites in the solar system.

It seemed that all ends were tied up and that the researcher would never be able to solve this mystery, but Landau returned with an answer, and eventually realized what had happened.

It turned out that the space object was not actually called Zoozve. It was an object under the temporary name 2002 VE 68, which, as the name implies, was discovered in 2002.

Temporary names of objects usually include the year of the object's discovery, as well as letters indicating the month and day of discovery. Thus, according to the explanation of the European Space Agency, the objects opened between January 1 and January 15 are designated in the order of their opening: AA, AB, AC, and so on. Objects opened from January 16 to January 31 are designated by the letters BA, BB, BC, and so on. The letter J is not used in the designations. The last discoveries of the year, from December 16 to December 31, will be designated in the YA, YB, YC series.

Further research revealed that the so-called Zoozve is much more interesting than most space rocks.

According to IFL Science, it is known that it, like all asteroids, orbits the Sun. Depending on how close the asteroid is to our star, it has a higher or lower rotation speed, as well as a shorter or longer "year".

VE68 goes through its year in 225 days. Almost as fast as the planet Venus. So they move around the Sun with a synchronization that would be the envy of professional synchronized athletes.

It was by tracking the orbit of 2002 VE that scientists discovered the first quasi-moon, or quasi-satellite, in the solar system. As the name implies, it is not exactly a satellite, but it is an object that is dependent on the Sun and also on a particular planet. For 2002 VE, this planet is Venus.

After the discovery of 2002 VE, other quasi-satellites were discovered. It is known that they can appear and disappear over time, and the Earth also has two officially recognized satellites.

The researchers who discovered 2002 VE believe that it has been close to Venus for about 7,000 years and will remain close for about the next five centuries. Earlier, scientists had speculated that 2002 VE could be a near-Earth asteroid.

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