Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Jupiter-family Comet
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. state of Alaska
  • Will pass within 25,008,112 km of Earth in 2026
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

169P/NEAT 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 169P/NEAT 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.

169P/NEAT orbits the sun every 1,540 days (4.22 years), coming as close as 0.61 AU and reaching as far as 4.60 AU from the sun. Its orbit is highly elliptical. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 169P/NEAT 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.

The rotation of 169P/NEAT has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 8.37 days.

Close Approaches

169P/NEAT's orbit is 0.14 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.

169P/NEAT has 6 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Aug. 11, 2026 25,008,112 19.897
Jan. 15, 2056 25,870,973 19.254
July 24, 2072 29,140,768 26.867
Jan. 30, 2169 25,812,226 26.669
July 26, 2185 17,794,929 25.858
Jan. 30, 2194 15,139,550 25.186

Images and Observations

169P/NEAT's orbit is determined by observations dating back to March 7, 1989. It was last officially observed on May 13, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 1,213 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 169P/NEAT:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2454405.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.604 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.7669
  • Inclination: 11.3°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 176.21°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 217.98°
  • Mean Anomaly: 181.65°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: ~3431.463 km
  • Magnitude: 16.5

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,540 days (4.22 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 18.40 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 4.60 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.61 AU
  • Rotation Period: 8.37 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 169P/NEAT 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.