Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay (4.84 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 25,053,023 km of Earth in 2034
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

Heracles is a mid-sized asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified Heracles 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.

Heracles orbits the sun every 907 days (2.48 years), coming as close as 0.42 AU and reaching as far as 3.25 AU from the sun. Its orbit is highly elliptical. Heracles is about 4.8 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay.

The rotation of Heracles has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 2.71 hours.

Heracles's spectral type None (Tholen) / O (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain and .

Close Approaches

Heracles's orbit is 0.06 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.

Heracles has 8 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
July 18, 2034 25,053,023 30.287
July 10, 2039 8,639,192 25.297
July 1, 2044 28,534,506 20.369
Dec. 4, 2093 19,135,857 24.862
July 11, 2116 7,647,827 25.066
Nov. 30, 2170 20,492,029 27.878
July 16, 2188 10,868,671 27.559
July 8, 2193 16,432,234 22.643

Images and Observations

Heracles's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Nov. 30, 1953. It was last officially observed on Sept. 4, 2021. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 3,134 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 Heracles:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2459396.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.833 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.7724
  • Inclination: 9.03°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 309.49°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 227.78°
  • Mean Anomaly: 288.02°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 4.84300 km
  • Magnitude: 13.94
  • Albedo: 0.227
  • Spectral type (SMASS): O

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 907 days (2.48 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 21.99 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 3.25 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.42 AU
  • Rotation Period: 2.71 hours
  • Approx. Composition: and .

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Heracles 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.

Size Rendering

The above comparison is an artistic rendering that uses available data on the diameter of Heracles to create an approximate landscape rendering with Mount Everest in the background. This approximation is built for full-resolution desktop browsers. Shape, color, and texture of asteroid are imagined.