Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Will pass within 8,102,380 km of Earth in 2021
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2020 WU5 is a small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2020 WU5 as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" due to its predicted close pass(es) with Earth.

2020 WU5 orbits the sun every 398 days (1.09 years), coming as close as 0.95 AU and reaching as far as 1.17 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2020 WU5 is probably between 0.484 to 1.082 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than ~97% of asteroids but small compared to large asteroids, very roughly comparable in size to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Close Approaches

2020 WU5's orbit is 0.04 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 WU5 has 21 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Jan. 13, 2021 8,102,380 21.342
July 11, 2021 23,705,535 20.583
Jan. 11, 2033 15,652,269 21.925
July 19, 2046 23,180,929 21.888
July 16, 2058 8,977,335 21.049
Jan. 16, 2070 20,458,132 21.115
July 14, 2070 8,380,685 20.675
Jan. 14, 2082 9,270,701 21.246
July 12, 2082 20,476,985 20.549
Jan. 12, 2094 11,923,436 21.709
Jan. 11, 2106 26,405,932 22.648
July 18, 2119 12,852,526 21.257
Jan. 18, 2131 23,851,213 21.132
July 16, 2131 6,533,374 20.753
Jan. 16, 2143 11,249,335 21.194
July 14, 2143 17,441,102 20.557
Jan. 14, 2155 9,995,583 21.581
Jan. 12, 2167 24,343,083 22.504
July 18, 2180 13,876,754 21.316
Jan. 19, 2192 23,802,846 21.140
July 15, 2192 6,554,451 20.757

Images and Observations

2020 WU5's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Nov. 29, 2020. It was last officially observed on Dec. 24, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 42 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 2020 WU5:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459000.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.059 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.1015
  • Inclination: 41.49°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 112.87°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 84.49°
  • Mean Anomaly: 81.2°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~0.624 km
  • Magnitude: 18.7

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 398 days (1.09 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 28.95 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.17 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.95 AU

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2020 WU5 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 above comparison is an artistic rendering that uses available data on the diameter of 2020 WU5 to create an approximate landscape rendering with Mount Everest in the background. This approximation is built for full-resolution desktop browsers. Shape, color, and texture of asteroid are imagined.