Key Facts

Overview

Phaetusa is a mid-sized asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter in the main portion of the asteroid belt. NASA JPL has not classified Phaetusa as potentially hazardous because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

Phaetusa orbits the sun every 1,220 days (3.34 years), coming as close as 1.87 AU and reaching as far as 2.59 AU from the sun. Phaetusa is about 8.2 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay.

The rotation of Phaetusa has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 4.54 days.

No Close Approaches

Phaetusa's orbit is 0.87 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an very wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

Orbital simulations conducted by NASA JPL's CNEOS do not show any close approaches to Earth.

Images and Observations

Phaetusa's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Sept. 7, 1920. It was last officially observed on June 4, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 2,558 observations used to determine its orbit.

Scientists have been able to determine this object's shape.

View asteroid Phaetusa in 3D.

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 Phaetusa:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459000.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.229 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.1598
  • Inclination: 1.75°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 121.56°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 252.46°
  • Mean Anomaly: 327.35°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 8.19600 km
  • Magnitude: 12.6
  • Albedo: 0.379
  • Spectral type (Tholen): S

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,220 days (3.34 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 19.88 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.59 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.87 AU
  • Rotation Period: 4.54 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Phaetusa 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.