Key Facts


Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ is an object whose orbit brings it closer to the sun than Jupiter. NASA JPL has classified 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ 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.

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ orbits the sun every 1,570 days (4.30 years), coming as close as 0.94 AU and reaching as far as 4.35 AU from the sun.

No Close Approaches

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ's orbit is 0.04 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is a 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

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ's orbit is determined by observations dating back to April 19, 2006. It was last officially observed on April 26, 2006. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 11 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 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ:



   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2453847.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 2.647 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.6441
  • Inclination: 10.93°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 69.5°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 199.04°
  • Mean Anomaly: 349.47°

Physical Characteristics

  • Magnitude: 21.4

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,570 days (4.30 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 18.34 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 4.35 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.94 AU

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3-AZ 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.