The Orbit of Asteroid 1994 PC1

Simulation of the asteroid in a realistic Solar System to show gravitational perturbations. Sizes of Sun and planets are not to scale. Distances, inclination angles, and shapes of orbits are to scale.

Sophia Jane Balkoski, Laksh Bhasin, Milly KeQi Wang

A VPython visualization of the asteroid’s orbital element vectors and its orbit around the Sun. Angular momentum vector is in blue, longitude of ascending node is in red, and eccentricity (pointing to perihelion) is in orange. Asteroid is in brown. Earth’s (almost) circular orbit (blue) in the plane of the ecliptic (green) is shown for scale of distances (which are to scale). Sizes (i.e. radii) of Earth, Sun, and asteroid are not to scale

Near-Earth Asteroids can be hazardous to the Earth, due to their orbital characteristics and proximity to inner Solar System planets. Using three sets of CCD images collected in June and July 2011, the orbital elements of asteroid 1994 PC1 were determined at solar opposition. The body’s specific right ascension and declination were calculated through least squares plate reduction (taking parallax into account) and compared to those of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. These data were then used to find 1994 PC1’s orbital elements, as well as any statistical uncertainty……
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