Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to a school bus or smaller
  • Will pass within 50,485 km of Earth in 2020
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2020 SO is a very small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2020 SO 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.

2020 SO orbits the sun every 386 days (1.06 years), coming as close as 1.00 AU and reaching as far as 1.07 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2020 SO is probably between 0.004 to 0.015 kilometers in diameter, making it a small to average asteroid, very roughly comparable in size to a school bus or smaller.

Close Approaches

2020 SO's orbit is 0.02 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.

2020 SO has 3 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Dec. 1, 2020 50,485 3.902
Feb. 2, 2021 225,161 1.787
Jan. 12, 2036 5,696,581 0.482

Images and Observations

2020 SO's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Aug. 19, 2020. It was last officially observed on Dec. 27, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 528 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

2020 SO can be reached with a journey of 338 days. This trajectory would require a delta-v of 3.363 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 2,140,921 potential trajectories and launch windows to this asteroid.

See more at the NHATS Mission Trajectories table for 2020 SO.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of 2020 SO:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459000.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.037 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.0339
  • Inclination: 0.14°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 105.97°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 331.3°
  • Mean Anomaly: 179.88°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~0.009 km
  • Magnitude: 28.5

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 386 days (1.06 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 29.23 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.07 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.00 AU

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2020 SO 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.