Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Encke-type Comet
  • Comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay (4.80 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 29,116,813 km of Earth in 2063
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

2P/Encke is a mid-sized comet whose orbit brings it closer to the sun than Jupiter. NASA JPL has classified 2P/Encke 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.

2P/Encke orbits the sun every 1,200 days (3.29 years), coming as close as 0.34 AU and reaching as far as 4.09 AU from the sun. Its orbit is highly elliptical. 2P/Encke 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 2P/Encke has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 11.08 hours.

Close Approaches

2P/Encke's orbit is 0.17 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.

2P/Encke has 4 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
July 7, 2063 29,116,813 32.480
June 28, 2106 29,129,415 25.753
June 30, 2172 24,623,686 26.677
Nov. 6, 2178 28,179,349 32.151

Images and Observations

2P/Encke's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Aug. 15, 2009. It was last officially observed on Sept. 12, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 2,692 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 2P/Encke:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2457238.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.215 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.8483
  • Inclination: 11.78°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 334.57°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 186.55°
  • Mean Anomaly: 185.41°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 4.80000 km
  • Magnitude: 15.5
  • Albedo: 0.046

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,200 days (3.29 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 20.08 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 4.09 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.34 AU
  • Rotation Period: 11.08 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 2P/Encke 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 2P/Encke 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.