Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Jupiter-family Comet
  • Comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay (5.20 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 25,077,471 km of Earth in 2062
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

7P/Pons-Winnecke is a small comet whose orbit features a relatively short period, low inclination, and is controlled by Jupiter's gravitational effects. NASA JPL has classified 7P/Pons-Winnecke 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.

7P/Pons-Winnecke orbits the sun every 2,309 days (6.32 years), coming as close as 1.24 AU and reaching as far as 5.60 AU from the sun. 7P/Pons-Winnecke is about 5.2 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay.

Close Approaches

7P/Pons-Winnecke's orbit is 0.23 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.

7P/Pons-Winnecke has 3 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
June 12, 2062 25,077,471 16.270
Aug. 1, 2073 29,066,905 17.325
June 15, 2142 26,197,055 12.895

Images and Observations

7P/Pons-Winnecke's orbit is determined by observations dating back to April 28, 1921. It was last officially observed on Nov. 10, 2015. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 602 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 7P/Pons-Winnecke:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2457380.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 3.41892823812 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.63761701005
  • Inclination: 22.3350880629°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 93.4096034155°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 172.500055268°
  • Mean Anomaly: 51.055239812°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 5.20000 km
  • Magnitude: 13.0

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 2,309 days (6.32 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 16.11 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 5.60 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.24 AU

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 7P/Pons-Winnecke 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.