6344 P–L

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6344 P–L = 2007 RR9
Discovered by Palomar–Leiden survey
C. J. van Houten, I. van Houten-Groeneveld
T. Gehrels
Discovery site Palomar Obs.
Discovery date 1960
MPC designation 6344 P-L
2007 RR9
Apollo, NEO, PHA
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 27 June 2015 (JD 2457200.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc 47.36 yr (17,298 days)
Aphelion 4.6744 AU
Perihelion 0.9323 AU
2.8033 AU
Eccentricity 0.6674
4.69 yr (1714.4 days)
Inclination 4.7251°
Earth MOID 0.0284 AU
Physical characteristics
20.4 mag

6344 P–L is a small Solar System body that was discovered in the year 1960 by asteroid searchers Tom Gehrels, Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld, and Cornelis Johannes van Houten. Last seen in 1960, it was lost, but rediscovered in 2007 as 2007 RR9.[2] In other words, it was a lost asteroid from 1960 until it was recovered and recognized as the same object by Peter Jenniskens in 2007.[3]

The designation P–L stands for Palomar–Leiden, named after Palomar Observatory and Leiden Observatory, which collaborated on the fruitful Palomar–Leiden survey in the 1960s. Gehrels used Palomar's 48-inch Samuel Oschin telescope and shipped the photographic plates to Cornelis Johannes van Houten and Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld at Leiden Observatory. The trio are credited with several thousand asteroid discoveries.[3]

It is either an asteroid or dormant comet nucleus, and it has a 4.7-year orbit around the Sun.[3] The orbit goes out as far as Jupiter's but then back in, passing as close as 0.07 AU to the Earth, making it a collision risk.[3]

6344 P–L classifies as a potentially hazardous object (PHO) with an minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.028 AU and an estimated diameter of about 200–500 meters (based on an absolute magnitude of 20.4).[1] It is probably a dormant comet, although it was not outgassing at the time of its recovery.[3]