Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Amor-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the Golden Gate Bridge (0.50 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 20,038,012 km of Earth in 2062
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation


Quetzalcoatl is a small asteroid whose orbit approaches the orbit of Earth but does not cross it. NASA JPL has classified Quetzalcoatl 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.

Quetzalcoatl orbits the sun every 1,480 days (4.05 years), coming as close as 1.09 AU and reaching as far as 3.99 AU from the sun. Quetzalcoatl is about 0.5 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 90% of asteroids but tiny compared to large asteroids, comparable in size to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The rotation of Quetzalcoatl has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 4.90 hours.

Close Approaches

Quetzalcoatl's orbit is 0.11 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is a wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

Quetzalcoatl has 3 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Feb. 24, 2062 20,038,012 13.015
Feb. 25, 2114 11,653,547 14.085
March 14, 2153 15,147,709 16.126

Images and Observations

Quetzalcoatl's orbit is determined by observations dating back to March 9, 1953. It was last officially observed on Oct. 9, 2004. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 51 observations used to determine its orbit.

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 Quetzalcoatl:



   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2460200.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.544 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.5703
  • Inclination: 20.4°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 162.94°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 347.79°
  • Mean Anomaly: 187.24°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 0.50000 km
  • Magnitude: 18.05
  • Albedo: 0.21
  • Spectral type (Tholen): SMU

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,480 days (4.05 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 18.70 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 3.99 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.09 AU
  • Rotation Period: 4.90 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Quetzalcoatl 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.

Size Rendering

The below comparison is an artistic rendering that uses available data on the diameter of Quetzalcoatl to create an approximate landscape rendering with New York City in the background. This approximation is built for full-resolution desktop browsers. Shape, color, and texture of asteroid are imagined.