|Discovered by||A. R. Klemola|
|Discovery site||Lick Observatory|
|Discovery date||7 September 1972|
|MPC designation||2202 Pele|
|Pele (Hawaiian deity)|
|NEO · Amor
|Orbital characteristics |
|Epoch 27 June 2015 (JD 2457200.5)|
|Uncertainty parameter 0|
|Observation arc||42.59 yr (15,555 days)|
|3.47 yr (1,267 days)|
|Earth MOID||0.1463 AU|
|Dimensions||±0.5 km (conversion) 1.5|
2202 Pele, provisional designation 1972 RA, is a small and eccentric asteroid, classified as a near-Earth object, roughly between 1 and 2 kilometers in diameter. It is an Amor asteroid, the second largest subgroup of near-Earth objects, that approach the orbit of Earth from beyond, but does not cross it. The asteroid was discovered by American astronomer Arnold Klemola at the U.S. Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, California, on 7 September 1972.
Since the asteroid orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.1–3.5 AU once every 3 years and 6 months (1,267 days), it crosses the orbit of Mars, which also makes it a Mars-crosser. Its orbit is tilted by 9 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic and shows a very high eccentricity of 0.51. For a near-Earth object, it has a relatively large Earth minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.1463 AU (21,890,000 km), which translate into 60 lunar distances.
Little is actually known about the asteroid's composition, rotation, albedo, and its effective size, despite having a well-observed orbit with the lowest possible uncertainty – a condition code of 0 – and an observation arc that spans over a period of nearly half a century. Based on a generic magnitude-to-diameter conversion, which assumes an albedo in the range of 0.05 to 0.25, its diameter could be anywhere between 1 and 2 kilometers.
The minor planet was named after Pele, the goddess of fire within the Hawaiian mythology. She made her home in the volcanoes Kilauea, after being driven out of the western sea by her angry sister, the sea goddess.
- "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 2202 Pele (1972 RA)" (2015-04-10 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved December 2015.
- Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (2202) Pele. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 179. ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7. Retrieved December 2015.
- "Absolute Magnitude (H)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
- "2202 Pele (1972 RA)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved December 2015.
- Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB), query form (info)
- Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, Google books
- Asteroids and comets rotation curves, CdR – Observatoire de Genève, Raoul Behrend
- Discovery Circumstances: Numbered Minor Planets (1)-(5000) – Minor Planet Center
- 2202 Pele at the JPL Small-Body Database
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