Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Main-belt Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. state of Connecticut (139.59 km diameter)
  • Not a Near Earth Object
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

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

Melpomene orbits the sun every 1,271 days (3.48 years), coming as close as 1.80 AU and reaching as far as 2.80 AU from the sun. Melpomene is about 139.6 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Connecticut.

The rotation of Melpomene has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 11.57 days.

Melpomene's spectral type S (Tholen) / S (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain magnesium silicate and iron silicate.

No Close Approaches

Melpomene's orbit is 0.81 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an very 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

Melpomene's orbit is determined by observations dating back to June 29, 1852. It was last officially observed on April 1, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 5,082 observations used to determine its orbit.

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

View asteroid Melpomene 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 Melpomene:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.29665350984 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.217674362252
  • Inclination: 10.1287312956°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 150.383861829°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 227.950846941°
  • Mean Anomaly: 267.254380676°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 139.59400 km
  • Magnitude: 6.51
  • Albedo: 0.181
  • Spectral type (Tholen): S
  • Spectral type (SMASS): S

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,271 days (3.48 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 19.65 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.80 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.80 AU
  • Rotation Period: 11.57 days
  • Approx. Composition: magnesium silicate and iron silicate.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Melpomene 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.