Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to a football field
  • Will pass within 3,360,181 km of Earth in 2021
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2021 AF8 is a very small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2021 AF8 as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" due to its predicted close pass(es) with Earth.

2021 AF8 orbits the sun every 1,050 days (2.87 years), coming as close as 0.98 AU and reaching as far as 3.06 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2021 AF8 is probably between 0.254 to 0.568 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 90% of asteroids but tiny compared to large asteroids, very roughly comparable in size to a football field.

Close Approaches

2021 AF8'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.

2021 AF8 has 4 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
May 4, 2021 3,360,181 9.407
June 5, 2041 23,700,826 13.335
May 15, 2107 5,778,484 9.891
March 25, 2130 19,660,235 11.468

Images and Observations

2021 AF8's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Dec. 25, 2020. It was last officially observed on March 4, 2021. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 157 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 2021 AF8:

References

Search

   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459200.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.018 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.5152
  • Inclination: 9.7°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 42.57°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 168.95°
  • Mean Anomaly: 315.87°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~0.328 km
  • Magnitude: 20.1

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,050 days (2.87 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 20.91 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 3.06 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.98 AU

Map Comparison

Click to load map

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2021 AF8 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 2021 AF8 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.