Key Facts

Overview

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

Vesta orbits the sun every 1,325 days (3.63 years), coming as close as 2.15 AU and reaching as far as 2.57 AU from the sun. Vesta is about 525.4 kilometers in diameter, making it one of the largest objects, comparable in size to Great Britain.

The rotation of Vesta has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 5.34 days.

Vesta's spectral type V (Tholen) / V (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain magnesium silicate and iron silicate.

No Close Approaches

Vesta's orbit is 1.14 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

Vesta's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Sept. 23, 1950. It was last officially observed on March 23, 2017. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 9,325 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 Vesta:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.36141789588 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.0887214595096
  • Inclination: 7.14177081187°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 103.810804427°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 150.728541287°
  • Mean Anomaly: 95.8619362002°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 525.40000 km
  • Magnitude: 3.2
  • Albedo: 0.4228
  • Spectral type (Tholen): V
  • Spectral type (SMASS): V

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,325 days (3.63 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 19.38 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.57 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 2.15 AU
  • Rotation Period: 5.34 days
  • Approx. Composition: magnesium silicate and iron silicate.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Vesta 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.