List of Solar System objects by greatest aphelion

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The orbit of Sedna lies well beyond these objects, and extends many times their distances from the Sun
The orbit of Sedna (red) set against the orbits of outer Solar System objects (Pluto's orbit is purple).

This is a list of Solar System objects by greatest aphelion or the greatest distance from the Sun that the orbit takes it. For the purposes of this list, it is implied that the object is orbiting the Sun in a two-body solution without the influence of the planets or passing stars. The aphelion can change significantly due to the gravitational influence of planets and other stars. Most of these objects are comets on a calculated path and may not be directly observable.[1] For instance, comet Hale-Bopp was last seen in 2013 at magnitude 24[2] and continues to fade, making it invisible to all but the most powerful telescopes.

The maximum extent of the region in which the Sun's gravitational field is dominant, the Hill sphere, may extend to 230,000 astronomical units (3.6 light-years) as calculated in the 1960s.[3] But any comet currently more than about 150,000 AU (2 ly) from the Sun can be considered lost to the interstellar medium. The nearest known star is Proxima Centauri at 271,000 AU which is 4.22 light years,[4] followed by Alpha Centauri at about 4.35 light years away according to NASA.[4]

Comets are thought to orbit the Sun at great distances, but then be perturbed by passing stars and the galactic tides.[5] As they come into or leave the inner Solar System they may have their orbit changed by the planets, or alternatively be ejected from the Solar System.[5] It is also possible they may collide with the Sun or a planet.[5]

Comets with greatest aphelion (2 body heliocentric)[edit]

The exact furthest distance from the Sun (aphelion) can be very different depending on the object's position in its orbit, as well as the epoch. An incoming asteroid could be slowed down by Jupiter, making its orbit closer to the Sun. The aphelion distance for heliocentric orbits (only taking into account the present location of the Sun as the orbited mass) can be highly inaccurate for objects with an orbital eccentricity approaching 1 (a hyperbolic orbit not bound to the Solar System) especially when the orbit is calculated while the object is near its closest point to the Sun and has not left the planetary region of the Solar System, where it passes closest to planets which could alter its orbit significantly. Barycentric solutions are more accurate because they account for the combined gravity of the Sun and the most massive planet Jupiter. An epoch of 2200 has all of these objects well outside of the planetary region of the Solar System. In 2200, comet C/2012 S4 will be 178 AU (27 billion km) from the Sun.

C/1910 A1 during its 1910 close approach
Proxima Centauri is 271,000 AU or 4.25 light years away
Object Heliocentric[1]
Aphelion (Q)
(Sun)
Perihelion epoch
Barycentric
Aphelion (AD)
(Sun+Jupiter)
epoch 2200
Barycentric
Aphelion
epoch 1800
C/2012 S4 (PANSTARRS) 504,443 AU (8.0 ly) 5700 AU 8500 AU
C/2012 CH17 (MOSS) 279,825 AU (4.4 ly) 7283 AU 26000 AU
C/2008 C1 (Chen-Gao) 203,253 AU (3.2 ly) 3822 AU 520 AU
C/1992 J1 (Spacewatch) 154,202 AU (2.4 ly) 3651 AU 72000 AU
C/2007 N3 (Lulin) 144,828 AU (2.3 ly) 2419 AU 64000 AU
C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) 117,212 AU (1.9 ly) 2975 AU 84000 AU
C/1937 N1 (Finsler) 115,031 AU (1.8 ly) 7121 AU 16000 AU
C/1972 X1 (Araya) 108,011 AU (1.7 ly) 5630 AU 4200 AU
C/2014 R3 (PANSTARRS) 80,260 AU (1.3 ly) 12841 AU 19000 AU
C/2015 O1 (PANSTARRS) 77,092 AU (1.2 ly) 21753 AU 52000 AU
C/2001 C1 (LINEAR) 76,230 AU (1.2 ly) ejection 98000 AU
C/2002 J4 (NEAT) 57,793 AU (0.91 ly) ejection 59000 AU
C/1910 A1 (Great January comet) 51,589 AU (0.82 ly) 2974 AU 15000 AU
C/1958 D1 (Burnham) 46,408 AU (0.73 ly) 1110 AU 7800 AU
C/1986 V1 (Sorrells) 37,825 AU (0.60 ly) 8946 AU 5400 AU
C/2005 G1 (LINEAR) 37,498 AU (0.59 ly) 40572 AU 110000 AU
C/2006 W3 (Christensen) 35,975 AU (0.57 ly) 8212 AU 5300 AU
C/2009 W2 (Boattini) 31,059 AU (0.49 ly) 3847 AU 4200 AU
C/2005 L3 (McNaught) 26,779 AU (0.42 ly) 6851 AU 33000 AU
C/2004 YJ35 (LINEAR) 26,433 AU (0.42 ly) 2480 AU 75000 AU
C/2003 H3 (NEAT) 26,340 AU (0.42 ly) ejection 4900 AU
C/2010 L3 (Catalina) 25,609 AU (0.40 ly) 21094 AU 12000 AU
C/1902 R1 (Perrine) 25,066 AU (0.40 ly) 2306 AU 74000 AU
C/1889 G1 (Barnard) 24,784 AU (0.39 ly) 1575 AU 2100 AU
C/2007 VO53 (Spacewatch) 24,383 AU (0.39 ly) 16835 AU 22000 AU

Distant periodic comets with well-known aphelion[edit]

The orbital paths of Halley, outlined in blue, against the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, outlined in red.

These can also change significantly such as if perturbed by Jupiter

The orbital paths of three comets, outlined in turquoise, against the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, outlined in green
The orbits of three periodic comets, Halley, Borrelly and Ikeya–Zhang, set against the orbits of the outer planets. Ikeya–Zhang is to the right.

Distant comets with long observation arcs and/or barycentric[edit]

Comet West in 1976

Examples of comets with a more well-determined orbit. Comets are extremely small relative to other bodies and hard to observe once they stop outgassing (see Coma (cometary)). Because they are typically discovered close to the Sun, it will take some time even thousands of years for them to actually travel out to great distances. The Whipple proposal might be able to detect Oort cloud objects at great distances, but probably not a particular object.

Minor planets[edit]

A large number of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) – minor planets orbiting beyond the orbit of Neptune – have been discovered in recent years. Many TNOs have orbits with an aphelion (farthest distance to the Sun) far beyond Neptune's orbit at 30.1 AU. Some of these TNOs with an extreme aphelion are detached objects such as 2010 GB174, which always reside in the outermost region of the Solar System, while for other TNOs, the extreme aphelion is due to an exceptionally high eccentricity such as for 2005 VX3, which orbits the Sun at a distance between 4.1 (closer than Jupiter) and 2200 AU (70 times farther from the Sun than Neptune). The following is a list of TNOs with the largest aphelion in descending order.[14][15]

Approximate number of minor planets
Aphelion
in AU
Number of minor planets
200–300
29
300–400
14
400–500
7
500–600
8
600–700
3
700–800
4
800–900
3
900–1000
2
1000–1500
4
Beyond 1500
9

TNOs with an aphelion larger than 200 AU[edit]

Sedna, 2015 TG387,and 2012 VP113

The following group of bodies have orbits with an aphelion above 200 AU,[14] with 1-sigma uncertainties given to two significant digits.

TNOs with an aphelion between 100 and 200 AU[edit]

65489 Ceto (2003 FX128)
(225088) 2007 OR10

The following group of bodies have orbits with an aphelion between 100 and 200 AU.[20]

TNOs with an aphelion between 90 and 100 AU[edit]

Orbit comparison of Eris (blue)

Greatest barycentric aphelion[edit]

The following asteroids have an incoming barycentric aphelion of at least 1000 AU.

name Heliocentric aphelion (AU) Barycentric aphelion (AU) (1800) Barycentric aphelion (AU) (2200) Change (%)
2014 FE72 2970 3071 3060 -0.36
2002 RN109 1090 2320 1190 -49
2005 VX3 1830 2140 1700 -17
2015 TG387 2120 2280 2280 0
2017 MB7 6080 2040 2840 +28
2012 DR30 3190 2000 2050 +2.4
2013 BL76 1920 1850 1920 +3.6
(308933) 2006 SQ372 1780 1540 1560 +1.3
2013 SY99 1330 1410 1410 0
2015 KG163 1630 1320 1320 0
2013 AZ60 960 1260 827 -34
2007 DA61 970 1190 852 -28
(87269) 2000 OO67 1040 1120 1070 -4.5

Comparison[edit]

Sedna compared to some other very distant orbiting bodies including 2015 DB216 (orbit wrong), 2000 OO67, 2004 VN112, 2005 VX3, 2006 SQ372, 2007 TG422, 2007 DA61, 2009 MS9, 2010 GB174, 2010 NV1, 2010 BK118, 2012 DR30, 2012 VP113, 2013 BL76, 2013 AZ60, 2013 RF98, 2015 ER61

See also[edit]

About comets
Objects of interest
Others

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: Q > 20000 (au)
  2. ^ "C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  3. ^ Chebotarev, G.A. (1964), "Gravitational Spheres of the Major Planets, Moon and Sun", Soviet Astronomy, 7 (5): 618–622, Bibcode:1964SvA.....7..618C
  4. ^ a b NASA – Imagine the Universe: The Nearest Star
  5. ^ a b c Frequently Asked Questions About General Astronomy
  6. ^ a b c Furthest SSB
  7. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/1975 V1-A (West)". Retrieved 2011-02-01. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  8. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/1999 F1 (Catalina)". Retrieved 2011-03-07. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  9. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/2012 S4 (PANSTARRS)". Retrieved 2015-09-26. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  10. ^ Horizons output (2011-01-30). "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2)". Retrieved 2011-01-30. (Horizons)
  11. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/1910 A1 (Great January comet)". Retrieved 2011-02-07. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  12. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet C/1992 J1 (Spacewatch)". Retrieved 7 October 2012. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  13. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3)". Retrieved 2011-01-30. (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  14. ^ a b c JPL asteroids greater than 200 AU aphelion (Q)
  15. ^ a b JPL asteroids aphelion greater than 800 AU
  16. ^ Marc W. Buie. "Orbit Fit and Astrometric record for 308933" (2010-09-17 using 64 of 65 observations over 5.01 years). SwRI (Space Science Department). Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  17. ^ Becker, J. C; et al. (14 May 2018). "Discovery and Dynamical Analysis of an Extreme Trans-Neptunian Object with a High Orbital Inclination". arXiv:1805.05355 [astro-ph.EP].
  18. ^ Marc W. Buie (2007-11-08). "Orbit Fit and Astrometric record for 04VN112". SwRI (Space Science Department). Archived from the original on 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  19. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2004 VN112)". Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  20. ^ JPL database down to 100 AU aphelion minor planets

External links[edit]