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5145 Pholus facts for kids

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5145 Pholus
Discovery
Discovered by Spacewatch
(David L. Rabinowitz)
Discovery date January 9, 1992
Designations
1992 AD
Centaur, Asteroid
Orbital characteristics
Epoch November 30, 2008 (JD 2454800.5)
Aphelion 4784.1 Gm
(31.98 AU)
Perihelion 1305.9 Gm
(8.730 AU)
3045.2 Gm
(20.356 AU)
Eccentricity 0.5711
33547.41 d
(91.85 yr)
6.01 km/s
67.49°
Inclination 24.65°
119.44°
354.92°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 185±16 km
Mass ~6.6×1018 kg
Mean density
2.0? g/cm³ (assumed)
~0.052 m/s²
~0.098 km/s
9.98 hours
Albedo 0.046±0.02
Temperature ~62 K
Spectral type
(red) B-V=1.19; V-R=0.78
7.0

5145 Pholus is a Centaur (minor planetoid) of the solar system running in a stretched orbit, with a perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) less than Saturn's and aphelion (farthest approach from the Sun) farther than Neptune's. Close approaches of the object are not common: it has not come within one astronomical unit (about 150 million km) of a planet since 764 BC, and will not again until 5290. Astronomers think that Pholus started out as a Kuiper belt object.

It was found by David L. Rabinowitz, then of the University of Arizona's Spacewatch Project, and named after Pholus, the brother of the mythological Chiron, after which 2060 Chiron was named to follow the tradition of naming this class of outer planet crossing objects after Centaurs.

Pholus was the second Centaur type asteroid to be found and was quickly found to be very red in color. Because it's very red, it is sometimes called "Big Red". Astronomers think the color is because of organic compounds on its surface.

Unlike the first Centaur, 2060 Chiron, Pholus has shown no signs of cometary activity.

Astronomers think that Pholus' diameter is about 185±16 km.

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