Key Facts

Overview

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

Baptistina orbits the sun every 1,240 days (3.39 years), coming as close as 2.05 AU and reaching as far as 2.48 AU from the sun. Baptistina is about 21.1 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the city of Indianapolis.

The rotation of Baptistina has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 16.23 hours.

No Close Approaches

Baptistina's orbit is 1.06 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an extremely 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

Baptistina's orbit is determined by observations dating back to March 19, 1892. It was last officially observed on Jan. 21, 2021. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 3,017 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 Baptistina:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459200.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.264 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.0965
  • Inclination: 6.29°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 8.16°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 135.05°
  • Mean Anomaly: 312.67°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 21.13500 km
  • Magnitude: 11.2
  • Albedo: 0.131

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,240 days (3.39 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 19.86 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.48 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 2.05 AU
  • Rotation Period: 16.23 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Baptistina 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.