Key Facts


9P/Tempel 1 is a mid-sized comet whose orbit features a relatively short period, low inclination, and is controlled by Jupiter's gravitational effects. NASA JPL has not classified 9P/Tempel 1 as potentially hazardous because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

9P/Tempel 1 orbits the sun every 2,040 days (5.59 years), coming as close as 1.54 AU and reaching as far as 4.75 AU from the sun. 9P/Tempel 1 is about 6.0 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the San Francisco Bay.

The rotation of 9P/Tempel 1 has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 40.70 hours.

No Close Approaches

9P/Tempel 1's orbit is 0.53 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is a very 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

9P/Tempel 1's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Oct. 25, 2008. It was last officially observed on Jan. 3, 2023. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 3,196 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 9P/Tempel 1:



   or view a random object

Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2457392.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 3.147 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.5098
  • Inclination: 10.47°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 68.76°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 179.19°
  • Mean Anomaly: 322.82°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 6.00000 km
  • Magnitude: 12.8
  • Albedo: 0.05

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 2,040 days (5.59 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 16.78 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 4.75 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.54 AU
  • Rotation Period: 40.70 hours

Map Comparison

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Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 9P/Tempel 1 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 9P/Tempel 1 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.