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Asteroid 3200 Phaethon - 0.07 AU from Earth 2017 DEC 16

Curt Renz

Well-Known Member
Mar 5, 2013
Chicken Littles may dub this the Doomsday Planet X. Actually there is no need to worry for now.

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is expected to pass only 0.0689 AU (10.3 million km – 6.4 million miles) from Earth on 2017 DEC 16 at 17 hr CST (23 hr UT). This should be preceded by maximum brilliance at magnitude +10.7 on DEC 14, which will require a telescope to be seen.

Phaethon is about 5 km in diameter. Its highly elliptical orbit and material composition suggest it may have started life as a comet. Debris from Phaethon is thought to be the source of the annual Geminid Meteor Shower, which is expected to peak this year during the night of DEC 13-14.

I’ve created two charts and an ephemeris. Due to the format I’ve placed them on my Comets webpage: www.CurtRenz.com/comets.html

Photos and descriptions of Phaethon would be welcome additions to this thread.

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