7066 Nessus

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7066 Nessus
Discovered by David Rabinowitz
Discovery date April 26, 1993
Named after
1993 HA2
Adjectives Nessian
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch December 31, 2006 (JD 2454100.5)
Aphelion 37.483 AU (Q)
5607.4 Gm
Perihelion 11.826 AU (q)
1769.1 Gm
24.655 AU (a)
3688.3 Gm
Eccentricity 0.520
44714.802 d
122.42 yr
5.57 km/s
Inclination 15.647°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 60±16 km [2][3]
0.06 [2]
Temperature ~ 56 K
~ 23.4[4]
9.6 [1]

7066 Nessus (/ˈnɛsəs/; from Greek: Νέσσος) is a centaur (a type of icy minor planet) that was discovered by David L. Rabinowitz, working with Spacewatch, at Kitt Peak on 26 April 1993. It was the second centaur found by him (5145 Pholus being his previous find), and the third centaur discovery (2060 Chiron, discovered by Charles Kowal in 1977, was the first). Nessus was officially announced on May 13, 1993, in IAUC 5789 with designation 1993 HA2.


7066 Nessus has an orbital period of 122.4 years, an eccentricity of 0.52 and an inclination to the ecliptic of 15.6 degrees. At perihelion, it moves much closer to the Sun than Uranus, while at aphelion it moves out well beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The orbits of centaurs are unstable due to perturbations by the giant planets. Nessus is an "SE object" because currently Saturn controls its perihelion and its aphelion is within the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt.[5] Nessus is estimated to have a relatively long orbital half-life of about 4.9 Myr.[5] Fifty clones of the orbit of Nessus suggest that Nessus will not pass within 1AU (150 Gm) of a planet for at least twenty thousand years.[6]


  1. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 7066 Nessus (1993 HA2)" (2004-05-26 last obs). Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  2. ^ a b John Stansberry; Will Grundy; Mike Brown; Dale Cruikshank; John Spencer; David Trilling; Jean-Luc Margot (2007). "Physical Properties of Kuiper Belt and Centaur Objects: Constraints from Spitzer Space Telescope". arXiv:astro-ph/0702538 [astro-ph]. 
  3. ^ Wm. Robert Johnston (22 August 2008). "List of Known Trans-Neptunian Objects". Johnston's Archive. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  4. ^ "AstDys (7066) Nessus Ephemerides". Department of Mathematics, University of Pisa, Italy. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  5. ^ a b Horner, J.; Evans, N.W.; Bailey, M. E. (2004). "Simulations of the Population of Centaurs I: The Bulk Statistics". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 354 (3): 798–810. arXiv:astro-ph/0407400. Bibcode:2004MNRAS.354..798H. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2004.08240.x. 
  6. ^ "Fifty clones of Centaur 7066 Nessus making passes within 150Gm". Retrieved 2009-04-26.  (Solex 10)

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