Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. Pentagon (1.20 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 25,570,801 km of Earth in 2044
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

Cerberus is a mid-sized asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified Cerberus as a "Near Earth Asteroid" due to its orbit's proximity to Earth, but it is not considered potentially hazardous because computer simulations have not indicated any imminent likelihood of future collision.

Cerberus orbits the sun every 410 days (1.12 years), coming as close as 0.58 AU and reaching as far as 1.58 AU from the sun. Cerberus is about 1.2 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. Pentagon.

The rotation of Cerberus has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 6.80 days.

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

Close Approaches

Cerberus's orbit is 0.16 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

Cerberus has 6 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Nov. 25, 2044 25,570,801 13.971
Nov. 24, 2053 24,606,125 16.876
Nov. 26, 2099 25,684,716 13.994
Nov. 25, 2108 24,853,407 16.923
Nov. 27, 2154 25,279,674 14.240
Nov. 26, 2163 25,797,577 17.328

Images and Observations

Cerberus's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Oct. 26, 1971. It was last officially observed on Jan. 24, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 1,805 observations used to determine its orbit.

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

View asteroid Cerberus 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 Cerberus:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459000.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.08 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.4669
  • Inclination: 16.1°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 212.92°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 325.25°
  • Mean Anomaly: 3.32°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 1.20000 km
  • Magnitude: 16.7
  • Albedo: 0.22
  • Spectral type (Tholen): S
  • Spectral type (SMASS): S

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 410 days (1.12 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 28.66 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.58 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.58 AU
  • Rotation Period: 6.80 days
  • Approx. Composition: magnesium silicate and iron silicate.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Cerberus 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.