Your Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 4:44  
clear_day Transit: 12:57  
SunsetSet: 21:11 south
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now
Dwarf Planets and Asteroids » 

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon

Altitude: 19.9°   Azimuth: 70.3°   Direction: East-North-East

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon was discovered on October 11, 1983, by Simon Green and John K. Davies using data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). Its name comes from Greek mythology, where Phaethon was the son of the sun god Helios. Phaethon is an Apollo asteroid, meaning it has a highly eccentric orbit that crosses the Earth's orbit, and it is the parent body of the Geminid meteor shower. It has a diameter of about 5.8 kilometers and an elongated, irregular shape. The surface of Phaethon is believed to be heavily cratered and covered in a layer of dust, and it may have a composition similar to some types of meteorites. Its orbit brings it closer to the Sun than any other named asteroid, with a perihelion of just 0.14 astronomical units (AU) and an aphelion of 2.4 AU. Phaethon has an orbital period of 1.4 years and rotates once on its axis every 3.6 hours.

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is currently in the constellation of Taurus. The current Right Ascension of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is 04h 16m 43s and the Declination is +27° 37’ 02” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current magnitude of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is 18.76 (JPL).

04h 16m 43s
+27° 37’ 02”

Today's rise, transit and set times of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 62.4°
Max altitude: 66.1°
Azimuth: 297.6°
  • 3200 Phaethon is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Right now it is placed in the East-North-East direction at an altitude of 20° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 3200 Phaethon is visible only through long exposure photography.
  • Go to interactive sky chart

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Available Resources

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Asteroid 3200 Phaethon finder charts showing where the object is right now in the sky with respect to the brightest stars. The first finder chart has a field of view of 50 degrees, while the second one has a field of view of 10 degrees. Click on each finder chart to access a full screen interactive Online Planetarium.

Finder chart of 3200 Phaethon in Taurus on June,09 2023
Map showing Asteroid 3200 Phaethon in Taurus on June, 09 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 3200 Phaethon
Map showing Asteroid 3200 Phaethon in Taurus on June, 09 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Asteroid 3200 Phaethon is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

3200 Phaethon
RA: 04h 16m 43s
Dec: +27° 37’ 02”
Deep sky finder chart for Asteroid 3200 Phaethon
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Asteroid 3200 Phaethon?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Asteroid 3200 Phaethon in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon Distance from Earth

The distance of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon from Earth is currently 446,895,632 kilometers, equivalent to 2.987313 Astronomical Units. Light takes 24 minutes and 50.6834 seconds to travel from Asteroid 3200 Phaethon and arrive to us.

24 minutes and 50.6834 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon from Earth as a function of time. In the chart the distance data is measured in Astronomical Units and sampled with an interval of 1 day.

Chart of the distance of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon from Earth in Astronomical Units (au)

The value of the reported distance might be somewhat inaccurate around the times of closest approach for objects passing extremely close to Earth. The value of the distance of 3200 Phaethon from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon to Earth

Between 1 January 1900 and 31 December 2099, the closest approach of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon to Earth happens on Mon Dec 14 2093 at a distance of 0.021741 Astronomical Units, or 3,252,462 kilometers:

Mon Dec 14 2093

NOTE: values for the closest approach are computed with a sampling interval of 1 day.

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon, according to the most recent ephemerides data. Magnitude data is sampled with a 2 days interval and there might be inaccuracies for objects changing brightness very rapidly during the course of a few days. For comets there could be large discrepancies between the observed and predicted brightness because of their highly dynamic behaviour.

Chart of the magnitude of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon as a function of time

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon at epoch 24 February 2023 00:00 UTC (JD: 2460000.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.88989538
Orbit inclination i 22.27353064°
Perihelion distance q 0.13998062 AU
20,940,802 km
Aphelion distance Q 2.40270321 AU
359,439,285 km
Semi-major axis a 1.27134191 AU
190,190,044 km
Orbital period period 1.4335 years
523.5908 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2023-Oct-20 18:55:33
2,460,238.2886 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 322.21663354453°
Longitude of the ascending node node 265.17233866659°
Mean anomaly M 196.50611414572°
Mean motion n 0.68755988°/day

Visualization of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon and the planets along their orbits in this diagram accurately represents the current configuration of the objects in the Solar System. This is an experimental feature and it requires a WebGL enabled browser. Please provide us feedback!

Orbit Diagram of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon
View Asteroid 3200 Phaethon in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Asteroid 3200 Phaethon computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Asteroid 3200 Phaethon in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Jun 02 04h 03m 38s +27° 17’ 53” 18.77 Taurus
2023 Jun 03 04h 05m 25s +27° 20’ 43” 18.77 Taurus
2023 Jun 04 04h 07m 14s +27° 23’ 29” 18.77 Taurus
2023 Jun 05 04h 09m 02s +27° 26’ 12” 18.77 Taurus
2023 Jun 06 04h 10m 50s +27° 28’ 51” 18.76 Taurus
2023 Jun 07 04h 12m 39s +27° 31’ 28” 18.76 Taurus
2023 Jun 08 04h 14m 30s +27° 34’ 02” 18.76 Taurus
2023 Jun 09 04h 16m 20s +27° 36’ 33” 18.76 Taurus
2023 Jun 10 04h 18m 11s +27° 39’ 02” 18.76 Taurus
2023 Jun 11 04h 20m 03s +27° 41’ 26” 18.76 Taurus
2023 Jun 12 04h 21m 55s +27° 43’ 45” 18.75 Taurus
2023 Jun 13 04h 23m 48s +27° 46’ 02” 18.75 Taurus
2023 Jun 14 04h 25m 41s +27° 48’ 16” 18.75 Taurus
2023 Jun 15 04h 27m 33s +27° 50’ 26” 18.75 Taurus