Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to a school bus or smaller
  • Will pass within 14,894,678 km of Earth in 2022
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2018 AL3 is a very small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2018 AL3 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.

2018 AL3 orbits the sun every 450 days (1.23 years), coming as close as 0.86 AU and reaching as far as 1.43 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2018 AL3 is probably between 0.024 to 0.107 kilometers in diameter, making it a small to average asteroid, very roughly comparable in size to a school bus or smaller.

Close Approaches

2018 AL3's orbit is 0.02 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.

2018 AL3 has 19 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Aug. 5, 2022 14,894,678 8.912
Dec. 17, 2033 12,465,531 5.631
Aug. 3, 2038 20,799,886 10.396
Nov. 4, 2049 22,627,548 6.104
Jan. 13, 2061 22,610,880 11.565
Aug. 25, 2065 19,617,999 4.198
Jan. 4, 2077 3,947,726 7.914
Aug. 13, 2081 14,975,946 5.331
Jan. 15, 2093 26,296,512 12.288
Oct. 24, 2097 23,272,523 6.048
Dec. 16, 2113 13,210,331 5.626
Aug. 7, 2118 15,208,731 8.977
Dec. 29, 2129 6,608,951 6.324
Aug. 7, 2134 15,644,522 9.107
Nov. 18, 2145 20,746,888 5.992
Jan. 16, 2157 26,542,180 12.341
Jan. 6, 2173 3,904,871 7.834
Aug. 14, 2177 13,919,956 5.681
Jan. 14, 2189 19,895,213 11.022

Images and Observations

2018 AL3's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Jan. 12, 2018. It was last officially observed on Feb. 12, 2018. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 41 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

2018 AL3 can be reached with a journey of 362 days. This trajectory would require a delta-v of 8.055 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 12,719 potential trajectories and launch windows to this asteroid.

See more at the NHATS Mission Trajectories table for 2018 AL3.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of 2018 AL3:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459800.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.149 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.2472
  • Inclination: 6.09°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 94.26°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 302.74°
  • Mean Anomaly: 309.14°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~0.066 km
  • Magnitude: 24.3

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 450 days (1.23 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 27.78 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.43 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.86 AU

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2018 AL3 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 2018 AL3 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.