Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. Pentagon
  • Will pass within 9,409,909 km of Earth in 2032
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

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

Pan orbits the sun every 633 days (1.73 years), coming as close as 0.60 AU and reaching as far as 2.29 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, Pan is probably between 1.011 to 2.260 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, very roughly comparable in size to the U.S. Pentagon.

The rotation of Pan has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 56.48 days.

Close Approaches

Pan's orbit is 0.03 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.

Pan has 13 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Sept. 3, 2032 9,409,909 19.753
Feb. 15, 2034 9,706,877 20.229
Sept. 5, 2058 11,741,752 20.332
Feb. 17, 2060 5,521,239 19.165
Sept. 11, 2084 28,471,201 23.932
Feb. 23, 2086 15,125,047 15.612
Aug. 21, 2091 26,919,139 13.516
Sept. 1, 2117 9,204,796 17.338
Feb. 13, 2119 21,601,341 22.732
Aug. 29, 2143 15,041,346 15.919
Feb. 26, 2164 16,159,870 15.409
Feb. 27, 2190 18,693,690 14.927
Aug. 25, 2195 24,344,395 14.005

Images and Observations

Pan's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Feb. 6, 1937. It was last officially observed on Jan. 12, 2018. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 908 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 Pan:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2458600.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.44226869241 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.58667777053
  • Inclination: 5.52024880476°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 311.82388666°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 291.818025278°
  • Mean Anomaly: 134.121207718°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~1.305 km
  • Magnitude: 17.1

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 633 days (1.73 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 24.80 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.29 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.60 AU
  • Rotation Period: 56.48 days

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Pan 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.