Key Facts

Overview

Cruithne is a small asteroid whose orbit could bring it in close proximity to Earth. NASA JPL has classified Cruithne 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.

Cruithne orbits the sun every 364 days (1.00 years), coming as close as 0.48 AU and reaching as far as 1.51 AU from the sun. Cruithne is about 2.1 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, comparable in size to Mount Everest.

The rotation of Cruithne has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 27.31 days.

Cruithne's spectral type (Tholen) / Q (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain nickel-iron.

No Close Approaches

Cruithne'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.

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

Images and Observations

Cruithne's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Oct. 17, 1973. It was last officially observed on Oct. 15, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 771 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 Cruithne:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 0.99769415355 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.514809170823
  • Inclination: 19.8056494422°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 126.227210921°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 43.8400486975°
  • Mean Anomaly: 130.85996979°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 2.07100 km
  • Magnitude: 15.6
  • Albedo: 0.365
  • Spectral type (SMASS): Q

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 364 days (1.00 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 29.82 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.51 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.48 AU
  • Rotation Period: 27.31 days
  • Approx. Composition: nickel-iron.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Cruithne 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.