National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
New Asteroid Discovery
New Asteroid Discovery
19 Feb 2003
(Source: NEO Task Force)

The Internatinal Astronomical Union announces the discovery of the first confirmed asteroid whose orbit is entirely inside of Earth's orbit. Asteroid 2003 CP20 orbits in the area between Mercury and Earth, and its aphelion distance (its furthest distance from the Sun), is 0.978 AU, or inside of Earth's orbit.

You can view its orbit here: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/db_shm?des=2003+CP20

I should point out that this is first confirmed case of an asteroid with this type of orbit. In 1998. astronomers at the University of Hawaii found a similar object, 1998 DK36. It was only observed over a few nights, and then lost. Preliminary calculations of its orbit indicated was inside of Earth's orbit, but additional followups were needed to confirm this. The asteroid was never recovered.

Ron Baalke

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
 
 
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 25 Feb 2003