Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Jupiter-family Comet
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. state of Alaska
  • Will pass within 27,691,260 km of Earth in 2034
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

15P/Finlay is a large comet whose orbit features a relatively short period, low inclination, and is controlled by Jupiter's gravitational effects. NASA JPL has classified 15P/Finlay 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.

15P/Finlay orbits the sun every 2,380 days (6.52 years), coming as close as 0.97 AU and reaching as far as 6.00 AU from the sun. Its orbit is highly elliptical. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 15P/Finlay is probably between 2658.000 to 5943.469 kilometers in diameter, making it the largest asteroid/dwarf planet, very roughly comparable in size to the U.S. state of Alaska.

Close Approaches

15P/Finlay'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.

15P/Finlay has 2 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Aug. 13, 2034 27,691,260 15.053
Oct. 27, 2060 7,360,487 13.271

Images and Observations

15P/Finlay's orbit is determined by observations dating back to April 27, 2008. It was last officially observed on Feb. 6, 2016. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 1,136 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

This comet 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 15P/Finlay:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2456406.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 3.487 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.7205
  • Inclination: 6.8°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 13.8°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 347.57°
  • Mean Anomaly: 267.36°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~3431.463 km
  • Magnitude: 10.3

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 2,380 days (6.52 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 15.94 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 6.00 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.97 AU

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 15P/Finlay 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.