Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Main-belt Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. state of Rhode Island (68.56 km diameter)
  • Not a Near Earth Object
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation


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

Sappho orbits the sun every 1,270 days (3.48 years), coming as close as 1.84 AU and reaching as far as 2.75 AU from the sun. Sappho is about 68.6 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

The rotation of Sappho has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 14.03 hours.

Sappho's spectral type S (Tholen) / S (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain and .

No Close Approaches

Sappho's orbit is 0.84 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is a very 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

Sappho's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Oct. 8, 1865. It was last officially observed on July 3, 2023. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 3,426 observations used to determine its orbit.

Scientists have been able to determine this object's shape:

View asteroid Sappho in 3D.

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 Sappho:



   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2460200.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.296 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.1999
  • Inclination: 8.68°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 218.65°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 139.58°
  • Mean Anomaly: 190.76°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 68.56300 km
  • Magnitude: 8.11
  • Albedo: 0.206
  • Spectral type (Tholen): S
  • Spectral type (SMASS): S

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,270 days (3.48 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 19.67 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 2.75 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.84 AU
  • Rotation Period: 14.03 hours
  • Approx. Composition: and .

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Sappho 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.