Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Aten-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. Capitol building
  • Will pass within 7,507,514 km of Earth in 2020
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2011 EP51 is a very small asteroid whose orbit could bring it in close proximity to Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2011 EP51 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.

2011 EP51 orbits the sun every 276 days (0.76 years), coming as close as 0.57 AU and reaching as far as 1.08 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2011 EP51 is probably between 0.160 to 0.710 kilometers in diameter, making it small in absolute terms, but larger than 90% of asteroids, very roughly comparable in size to the U.S. Capitol building.

Close Approaches

2011 EP51's orbit is 0.03 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.

2011 EP51 has 34 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Jan. 15, 2020 7,507,514 7.145
Jan. 9, 2023 12,729,740 10.096
Jan. 11, 2026 28,889,849 13.870
March 26, 2048 20,593,115 12.167
March 28, 2051 7,711,176 9.256
March 23, 2054 4,910,144 7.351
March 10, 2057 10,893,318 6.515
Feb. 22, 2060 13,927,388 6.494
Feb. 4, 2063 13,261,516 6.487
Jan. 17, 2066 8,231,426 6.895
Jan. 9, 2069 9,050,243 9.136
Jan. 11, 2072 22,591,203 12.455
March 27, 2094 23,335,878 12.775
March 27, 2097 8,445,224 9.415
March 22, 2100 6,173,810 7.092
March 5, 2103 12,729,062 6.500
Feb. 12, 2106 14,068,102 6.504
Jan. 24, 2109 10,571,085 6.559
Jan. 13, 2112 6,257,839 7.941
Jan. 10, 2115 15,704,528 10.875
March 26, 2140 27,399,235 13.649
March 29, 2143 14,101,469 10.692
March 27, 2146 4,642,951 8.202
March 20, 2149 7,541,113 6.840
March 5, 2152 12,481,588 6.497
Feb. 18, 2155 14,061,557 6.495
Feb. 4, 2158 12,965,135 6.486
Jan. 23, 2161 10,074,108 6.584
Jan. 17, 2164 7,153,091 7.069
Jan. 13, 2167 5,966,263 7.826
Jan. 11, 2170 7,334,861 8.645
Jan. 10, 2173 11,891,434 9.927
Jan. 11, 2176 17,917,171 11.374
Jan. 12, 2179 24,811,943 12.948

Images and Observations

2011 EP51's orbit is determined by observations dating back to March 12, 2011. It was last officially observed on Jan. 24, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 318 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

2011 EP51 can be reached with a journey of 306 days. This trajectory would require a delta-v of 11.061 km/s. To put this into perspective, the delta-v to launch a rocket to Low-Earth Orbit is 9.7 km/s. There are 2,884 potential trajectories and launch windows to this asteroid.

See more at the NHATS Mission Trajectories table for 2011 EP51.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of 2011 EP51:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459000.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 0.8287 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.3077
  • Inclination: 3.43°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 159.54°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 170.15°
  • Mean Anomaly: 299.83°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~0.435 km
  • Magnitude: 25.2

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 276 days (0.76 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 32.66 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.08 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.57 AU

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2011 EP51 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.