What is the Asteroid Belt Between Mars and Jupiter Called?

Overview

Palma is a large asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter in the main portion of the asteroid belt. NASA JPL has not classified Palma as potentially hazardous because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

Palma orbits the sun every 2,040 days (5.59 years), coming as close as 2.34 AU and reaching as far as 3.97 AU from the sun. Palma is about 173.6 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 99% of asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Massachusetts.

The rotation of Palma has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 8.57 days.

Palma’s spectral type BFC (Tholen) / B (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain iron, hydrogen, ammonia, and nitrogen.

No Close Approaches

Palma’s orbit is 1.45 AU from Earth’s orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an extremely wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

Orbital simulations conducted by NASA JPL’s CNEOS do not show any close approaches to Earth.

Images and Observations

Palma’s orbit is determined by observations dating back to Sept. 30, 1893. It was last officially observed on Aug. 14, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 2,134 observations used to determine its orbit.

Scientists have been able to determine this object’s shape.

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