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: 4:43  
clear_day Transit: 12:58  
SunsetSet: 21:12 south
sunny DaytimeWhat's Visible Now
Dwarf Planets and Asteroids » 

Asteroid 4 Vesta

Altitude: 48.6°   Azimuth: 215.2°   Direction: South-West

4 Vesta is a large asteroid located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered on March 29, 1807 by German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers and is one of the largest asteroids in the solar system, with a diameter of approximately 525 kilometers. Vesta has a relatively bright surface and is thought to be one of the few remaining protoplanets from the early solar system that has not undergone significant alteration since its formation. It has a differentiated interior, with a rocky crust, a mantle, and a metallic core. Vesta has a rotation period of about 5.34 hours and an orbital period of 3.63 Earth years. It has been observed by ground-based telescopes, as well as by the Dawn spacecraft, which orbited the asteroid from 2011 to 2012. The observations have revealed insights into its geology, composition, and history, including evidence of volcanic activity, impact craters, and a unique set of surface features known as "Vestoids", which are fragments believed to have been ejected from Vesta's surface by impacts.

Asteroid 4 Vesta is currently in the constellation of Taurus. The current Right Ascension of Asteroid 4 Vesta is 03h 32m 54s and the Declination is +14° 28’ 39” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt). The current magnitude of Asteroid 4 Vesta is 8.42 (JPL).

03h 32m 54s
+14° 28’ 39”

Today's rise, transit and set times of Asteroid 4 Vesta from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt (all times relative to the local timezone Europe/London):

Azimuth: 75.6°
Max altitude: 53.0°
Azimuth: 284.5°
  • 4 Vesta is above the horizon from Greenwich, United Kingdom edit_location_alt.
  • Right now it is placed in the South-West direction at an altitude of 49° above the horizon.
  • Given its current magnitude, 4 Vesta is visible with the help of a binocular with a 30-40mm aperture, easy with a small telescope.
  • 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 4 Vesta Position and Finder Charts

Below we provide Asteroid 4 Vesta 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 4 Vesta in Taurus on June,10 2023
Map showing Asteroid 4 Vesta in Taurus on June, 10 2023
Field of view: 50x30 degrees
View fullscreen
Finder chart of 4 Vesta
Map showing Asteroid 4 Vesta in Taurus on June, 10 2023
Field of view: 10x6 degrees
View fullscreen

Higher precision deep sky finder chart, 60 arcmin wide, showing where Asteroid 4 Vesta is right now. Click on the image to see a more detailed fullscreen tracker view.

4 Vesta
RA: 03h 32m 54s
Dec: +14° 28’ 39”
Deep sky finder chart for Asteroid 4 Vesta
Field of view: 60x40 arcmins
View fullscreen

Also check out Where is Asteroid 4 Vesta?, a page that provides all the information needed to find Asteroid 4 Vesta in the sky and additional links to sky charts.

Asteroid 4 Vesta Distance from Earth

The distance of Asteroid 4 Vesta from Earth is currently 511,909,313 kilometers, equivalent to 3.421902 Astronomical Units. Light takes 28 minutes and 27.5457 seconds to travel from Asteroid 4 Vesta and arrive to us.

28 minutes and 27.5457 seconds

The following chart shows the distance of Asteroid 4 Vesta 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 4 Vesta 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 4 Vesta from Earth is also available as a real time updated value in the Live Position and Data Tracker.

Closest Approach of Asteroid 4 Vesta to Earth

Between 1 January 1600 and 30 December 2499, the closest approach of Asteroid 4 Vesta to Earth happens on Thu Jun 23 2439 at a distance of 1.131542 Astronomical Units, or 169,276,274 kilometers:

Thu Jun 23 2439

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

Asteroid 4 Vesta Brightness and Light Curve

The following chart is the predicted light curve (visual magnitude as a function of time) of Asteroid 4 Vesta, 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 4 Vesta as a function of time

Asteroid 4 Vesta Orbital Elements

The following table lists the orbital elements of Asteroid 4 Vesta at epoch 24 February 2023 00:00 UTC (JD: 2460000.5). Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Element Symbol Value
Orbit eccentricity e 0.08875750
Orbit inclination i 7.13925798°
Perihelion distance q 2.15330084 AU
322,129,221 km
Aphelion distance Q 2.57277559 AU
384,881,751 km
Semi-major axis a 2.36303821 AU
353,505,486 km
Orbital period period 3.6326 years
1,326.7972 days
Date of perihelion transit Tp 2021-Dec-27 16:07:29
2,459,576.1719 JD
Next perihelion transit 2025-Aug-15 11:15
2,460,902.9691 JD
Argument of perihelion peri 151.59916398802°
Longitude of the ascending node node 103.75730014935°
Mean anomaly M 115.13298959749°
Mean motion n 0.27133009°/day

Visualization of Asteroid 4 Vesta Orbit

This 3d orbit diagram is a feature of our 3D Solar System Simulator and shows the orbit of Asteroid 4 Vesta with respect of the Sun and the orbits of the major planets. The position of Asteroid 4 Vesta 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 4 Vesta
View Asteroid 4 Vesta in the 3D Solar System Simulator

Asteroid 4 Vesta Physical Data

The following shows the known values of the most important physical parameters of Asteroid 4 Vesta. Source: JPL Small-Body Database

Physical Parameter Value Relative to Earth
Diameter 530 km 0.0416
Sideral Rotation 5.3420 hours 0.2232
Absolute Magnitude 3.2
Geometric Albedo 0.4228

Asteroid 4 Vesta 15 Days Ephemeris

The following table lists the ephemerides of Asteroid 4 Vesta computed for the past and next 7 days, with a 24 hours interval. Click on each row of the table to locate Asteroid 4 Vesta in our Online Planetarium at the chosen date.

Date Right AscensionR.A. DeclinationDec. MagnitudeMag Constellation
2023 Jun 03 03h 20m 03s +13° 38’ 53” 8.39 Aries
2023 Jun 04 03h 21m 47s +13° 45’ 47” 8.39 Aries
2023 Jun 05 03h 23m 30s +13° 52’ 35” 8.40 Aries
2023 Jun 06 03h 25m 13s +13° 59’ 20” 8.40 Taurus
2023 Jun 07 03h 26m 56s +14° 05’ 58” 8.41 Taurus
2023 Jun 08 03h 28m 37s +14° 12’ 34” 8.41 Taurus
2023 Jun 09 03h 30m 20s +14° 19’ 05” 8.41 Taurus
2023 Jun 10 03h 32m 03s +14° 25’ 32” 8.42 Taurus
2023 Jun 11 03h 33m 47s +14° 31’ 54” 8.42 Taurus
2023 Jun 12 03h 35m 30s +14° 38’ 12” 8.43 Taurus
2023 Jun 13 03h 37m 12s +14° 44’ 25” 8.43 Taurus
2023 Jun 14 03h 38m 54s +14° 50’ 34” 8.43 Taurus
2023 Jun 15 03h 40m 37s +14° 56’ 38” 8.44 Taurus
2023 Jun 16 03h 42m 20s +15° 02’ 36” 8.44 Taurus