Key Facts

Overview

Varuna is a dwarf planet whose orbit extends beyond the orbit of Neptune. NASA JPL has not classified Varuna as potentially hazardous because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

Varuna orbits the sun every 102,207 days (279.83 years), coming as close as 40.47 AU and reaching as far as 45.10 AU from the sun. Varuna is about 900.0 kilometers in diameter, making it one of the largest objects, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Alaska.

The rotation of Varuna has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 6.34 days.

No Close Approaches

Varuna's orbit is 39.51 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

Varuna's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Nov. 24, 1954. It was last officially observed on Feb. 18, 2017. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 439 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 Varuna:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 42.7812965915 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.054126701815
  • Inclination: 17.2196619786°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 97.3693276483°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 262.875716895°
  • Mean Anomaly: 117.223103415°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 900.00000 km
  • Magnitude: 3.6
  • Albedo: 0.07

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 102,207 days (279.83 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 4.55 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 45.10 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 40.47 AU
  • Rotation Period: 6.34 days

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Varuna 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.