Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Aten-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. Capitol building (0.37 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 21,241,125 km of Earth in 2027
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

242191 (2003 NZ6) is a very small asteroid whose orbit could bring it in close proximity to Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2003 NZ6 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.

2003 NZ6 orbits the sun every 258 days (0.71 years), coming as close as 0.40 AU and reaching as far as 1.18 AU from the sun. 2003 NZ6 is about 0.4 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 90% of asteroids but tiny compared to large asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. Capitol building.

The rotation of 2003 NZ6 has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 13.53 hours.

Close Approaches

2003 NZ6's orbit is 0.07 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.

2003 NZ6 has 17 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
July 17, 2027 21,241,125 12.519
July 12, 2032 27,390,376 20.055
July 14, 2044 17,329,700 17.905
July 16, 2056 10,654,667 16.075
July 18, 2068 10,606,355 14.615
July 17, 2080 18,195,877 12.960
July 14, 2092 27,585,374 11.842
July 14, 2097 19,601,571 18.414
July 18, 2109 11,430,583 16.428
July 19, 2121 9,979,920 14.827
July 19, 2133 17,168,286 13.101
July 16, 2145 26,714,519 11.936
July 16, 2150 20,342,802 18.597
July 18, 2162 11,235,909 16.393
July 19, 2174 10,147,092 14.671
July 19, 2186 18,350,400 12.907
July 15, 2198 27,641,521 11.842

Images and Observations

2003 NZ6's orbit is determined by observations dating back to July 9, 2003. It was last officially observed on July 1, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 522 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 2003 NZ6:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459396.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 0.7934 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.4923
  • Inclination: 18.24°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 124.6°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 311.61°
  • Mean Anomaly: 54.86°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 0.37000 km
  • Magnitude: 18.97
  • Albedo: 0.334

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 258 days (0.71 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 33.46 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.18 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.40 AU
  • Rotation Period: 13.53 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 242191 (2003 NZ6) 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 2003 NZ6 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.