Key Facts

Overview

Psyche is a large asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter in the main portion of the asteroid belt. NASA JPL has not classified Psyche as potentially hazardous because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

Psyche orbits the sun every 1,826 days (5.00 years), coming as close as 2.53 AU and reaching as far as 3.31 AU from the sun. Psyche is about 226.0 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Maryland.

The rotation of Psyche has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 4.20 days.

Psyche's spectral type M (Tholen) / X (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain nickel, iron, and cobalt.

No Close Approaches

Psyche's orbit is 1.54 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an extremely wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

Orbital simulations conducted by NASA JPL's CNEOS do not show any close approaches to Earth.

Images and Observations

Psyche's orbit is determined by observations dating back to June 22, 1984. It was last officially observed on Sept. 3, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 2,364 observations used to determine its orbit.

Scientists have been able to determine this object's shape.

View asteroid Psyche in 3D.

Accessibility and Exploration

This asteroid is not considered a viable target for human exploration by the NHATS study.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of Psyche:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.92381368022 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.133568414834
  • Inclination: 3.0960052088°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 150.045666398°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 228.823071356°
  • Mean Anomaly: 288.335892892°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 226.00000 km
  • Magnitude: 5.9
  • Albedo: 0.1203
  • Spectral type (Tholen): M
  • Spectral type (SMASS): X

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,826 days (5.00 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 17.42 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 3.31 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 2.53 AU
  • Rotation Period: 4.20 days
  • Approx. Composition: nickel, iron, and cobalt.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Psyche is indicated by a ◯ pink circle. Note that the object may not be in your current field of view. Use the controls below to adjust position, location, and time.