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A Complete Guide to the Solar System and the Night Sky
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public Observing fromLocation: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt
north SunriseRise: 7:41  
clear_day Transit: 11:47  
SunsetSet: 15:53 south
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Dwarf Planets and Asteroids » 

Asteroid 16 Psyche

Altitude: -59.0°   Azimuth: 12.5°   Direction: North-North-East

Asteroid 16 Psyche is an interesting object in the asteroid belt because it is believed to have a high concentration of metallic iron and nickel in its composition, making it one of the largest known metallic asteroids in the solar system. It was discovered on March 17, 1852, by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis, who named it after Psyche, a figure in Greek mythology who represents the soul. Psyche is approximately 226 kilometers in diameter and orbits the Sun at a distance of about 3 astronomical units (AU), with an orbital period of about 5.5 years. The asteroid has been identified as a potential target for future space exploration, including NASA's Psyche mission.

Asteroid 16 Psyche is currently in the constellation of Ophiucus.

The current Right Ascension of Asteroid 16 Psyche is 17h 17m 03s and the Declination is -20° 54’ 31” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current magnitude of Asteroid 16 Psyche is 11.91 (JPL).

17h 17m 03s
-20° 54’ 31”

Today's rise, transit and set times of Asteroid 16 Psyche from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 110.9°
Max altitude: 17.6°
Azimuth: 249.1°
  • 16 Psyche is below the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Given its current magnitude, 16 Psyche is visible with the help of a telescope having an aperture of 4 inches (100mm) or more.
  • Go to interactive sky chart

If you need to access this information frequently for your observations, you can create a simple customized Quick Access page, so that you can easily bookmark it in your browser favorites or add a shortcut to your mobile phones' home screen.

Available Resources

Asteroid 16 Psyche Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Asteroid 16 Psyche 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 16 Psyche in Ophiucus on December,01 2023
Map showing Asteroid 16 Psyche in Ophiucus on December, 01 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 16 Psyche
Map showing Asteroid 16 Psyche in Ophiucus on December, 01 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Asteroid 16 Psyche is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

16 Psyche
RA: 17h 17m 03s
Dec: -20° 54’ 31”
Deep sky finder chart for Asteroid 16 Psyche
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Asteroid 16 Psyche?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Asteroid 16 Psyche in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Asteroid 16 Psyche Distance from Earth

The distance of Asteroid 16 Psyche from Earth is currently 599,369,100 kilometers, equivalent to 4.006535 Astronomical Units. Light takes 33 minutes and 19.2801 seconds to travel from Asteroid 16 Psyche and arrive to us.

33 minutes and 19.2801 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Asteroid 16 Psyche 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 16 Psyche 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 16 Psyche from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Asteroid 16 Psyche to Earth

Between 1 January 1900 and 31 December 2099, the closest approach of Asteroid 16 Psyche to Earth happens on Fri Nov 24 1905 at a distance of 1.641628 Astronomical Units, or 245,584,060 kilometers:

Fri Nov 24 1905

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

Asteroid 16 Psyche Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Asteroid 16 Psyche, 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 16 Psyche as a function of time

Asteroid 16 Psyche Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Asteroid 16 Psyche at epoch 24 February 2023 00:00 UTC (JD: 2460000.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.13411742
Orbit inclination i 3.09684542°
Perihelion distance q 2.53196623 AU
378,776,757 km
Aphelion distance Q 3.31632379 AU
496,114,979 km
Semi-major axis a 2.92414501 AU
437,445,868 km
Orbital period period 5.0004 years
1,826.4037 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2025-Apr-27 08:36:54
2,460,792.8590 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 229.32824981988°
Longitude of the ascending node node 150.03080705°
Mean anomaly M 203.81918294997°
Mean motion n 0.19710866°/day

Visualization of Asteroid 16 Psyche Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Asteroid 16 Psyche with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Asteroid 16 Psyche 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 16 Psyche
View Asteroid 16 Psyche in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Asteroid 16 Psyche Physical Data

The following shows the known values of the most important physical parameters of Asteroid 16 Psyche. Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Physical Parameter Value Relative to Earth
Diameter 253.16 km 0.0199
Sideral Rotation 4.1960 hours 0.1753
Absolute Magnitude 5.9
Geometric Albedo 0.1203

Asteroid 16 Psyche 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Asteroid 16 Psyche computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Asteroid 16 Psyche in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Nov 24 17h 05m 44s -20° 39’ 05” 11.98 Ophiucus
2023 Nov 25 17h 07m 19s -20° 41’ 27” 11.97 Ophiucus
2023 Nov 26 17h 08m 56s -20° 43’ 46” 11.96 Ophiucus
2023 Nov 27 17h 10m 32s -20° 46’ 01” 11.95 Ophiucus
2023 Nov 28 17h 12m 09s -20° 48’ 12” 11.94 Ophiucus
2023 Nov 29 17h 13m 45s -20° 50’ 21” 11.93 Ophiucus
2023 Nov 30 17h 15m 21s -20° 52’ 24” 11.92 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 01 17h 16m 59s -20° 54’ 24” 11.91 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 02 17h 18m 37s -20° 56’ 21” 11.90 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 03 17h 20m 13s -20° 58’ 14” 11.89 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 04 17h 21m 51s -21° 00’ 02” 11.88 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 05 17h 23m 30s -21° 01’ 48” 11.86 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 06 17h 25m 08s -21° 03’ 28” 11.85 Ophiucus
2023 Dec 07 17h 26m 45s -21° 05’ 04” 11.84 Ophiucus