3200 Phaethon

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3200 Phaethon
Asteroid Phaethon 25dec2010 stack.jpg
Asteroid (3200) Phaethon imaged on 25 Dec 2010 with the 37 cm F14 Cassegrain telescope of Winer Observatory, Sonoita (MPC 857) by Marco Langbroek.
Discovery
Discovery time 11 October 1983
Names
Named for Phaëton
Other names 1983 TB
Group Apollo asteroid
Orbit
Reference date July 14, 2004 (JD 2453200.5)
Longest distance from the Sun 2.403 AU (359.456 Gm)
Shortest distance from the Sun 0.140 AU (20.922 Gm)
Longest distance from the center of its orbital path
("semi-major axis")
1.271 AU (190.189 Gm)
How egg-shaped its orbit is
("eccentricity")
0.890
How long it takes to complete an orbit 1.43 a (523.586 d)
Average speed 19.98 km/s
Mean anomaly 200.798°
Angle above the reference plane
("inclination")
22.169°
Size and Other Qualities
Measures 5.1 km[1]
Mass 1.4×1014 kg

3200 Phaethon, sometimes incorrectly spelt Phaeton, is an Apollo asteroid and a dead comet.[1]

It was announced on 14 October 1983 in IAUC 3878, with optical confirmation that it looks like an asteroid. It was the first asteroid to be found by a spacecraft. It measures 5.10 km in diameter.

Phaethon approaches the Sun closer than any other numbered asteroid. Its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) is only 0.140 AU – less than half Mercury's perihelion distance. It is a Mercury-, Venus-, Earth- and Mars-crosser. The surface temperature at perihelion could reach ~1025 K, or 1400 F. For this reason, it was named after the Greek myth of Phaëton, son of the sun god Helios.

Phaethon approached to 18.1 Gm on 10 December 2007. It will draw nearer in 2017, 2050, 2060, and closer still on 14 December 2093, passing within 0.0198 AU (3.0  Gm).

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 3200 Phaethon (1983 TB)". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 2012-02-25 last obs. http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=3200. Retrieved 2012-06-19.