Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to a football field
  • Will pass within 4,088,175 km of Earth in 2021
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2020 XU6 is a very small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2020 XU6 as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" due to its predicted close pass(es) with Earth.

2020 XU6 orbits the sun every 1,200 days (3.29 years), coming as close as 0.99 AU and reaching as far as 3.43 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2020 XU6 is probably between 0.168 to 0.375 kilometers in diameter, making it a small to average asteroid, very roughly comparable in size to a football field.

Close Approaches

2020 XU6's orbit is 0.00 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that its orbit is relatively close to Earth's orbit.

2020 XU6 has 3 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Feb. 22, 2021 4,088,175 8.367
Jan. 31, 2054 29,428,777 13.771
Feb. 28, 2077 1,752,496 7.992

Images and Observations

2020 XU6's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Dec. 14, 2020. It was last officially observed on June 6, 2021. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 384 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 XU6:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459396.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.212 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.5512
  • Inclination: 3.9°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 164.42°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 6.3°
  • Mean Anomaly: 34.64°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~0.217 km
  • Magnitude: 21.0

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,200 days (3.29 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 20.05 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 3.43 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.99 AU

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2020 XU6 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 2020 XU6 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.