Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay (5.40 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 2,969,361 km of Earth in 2069
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

Toutatis is a small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified Toutatis as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" due to its predicted close pass(es) with Earth.

Toutatis orbits the sun every 1,481 days (4.06 years), coming as close as 0.95 AU and reaching as far as 4.14 AU from the sun. Toutatis is about 5.4 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay.

The rotation of Toutatis has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 176.00 days.

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

Close Approaches

Toutatis's orbit is 0.01 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that its orbit is relatively close to Earth's orbit.

Toutatis has 1 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Nov. 5, 2069 2,969,361 8.406

Images and Observations

Toutatis's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Feb. 10, 1934. It was last officially observed on July 5, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 6,102 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 Toutatis:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.5432282639 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.626090263885
  • Inclination: 0.447799241978°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 125.185258473°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 278.08107437°
  • Mean Anomaly: 214.221508917°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 5.40000 km
  • Magnitude: 15.3
  • Spectral type (SMASS): Sk

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,481 days (4.06 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 18.68 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 4.14 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.95 AU
  • Rotation Period: 176.00 days
  • Approx. Composition: magnesium silicate and iron silicate.

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Toutatis 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.