ASTEROID 17851 KALER
Kaler (also known as 1998 JK) appears
at the center of the left hand picture. The right-hand
animation shows the motion of the asteroid in images
taken 95 minutes apart on May 12, 2002. Since the asteroid
is near opposition to the Sun, it is in retrograde, and appears
to move from left to right (east to west) against the background
ORBIT AND POSITION AS OF AUGUST 1, 2004
Asteroid 17851 Kaler (also known as 1998 JK) was discovered
on May 1, 1998 by NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) project.
Only 5-10 kilometers across, at its brightest it is 16th magnitude,
some 10,000 times fainter than the human eye can see.
Averaging 2.40 Astronomical Units from the Sun (the AU the average distance
between Earth and Sun, 149.6 million km), Asteroid Kaler is on the inner
portion of the main asteroid belt and takes 3.72 years to orbit.
With an eccentricity of 0.144, it stays within
the main belt, changing its solar distance from 2.744 AU to
2.054 AU, which keeps it at its closest just over 1 AU from Earth.
A low inclination of 3.2 degrees keeps it close to the ecliptic.
Thanks to Bryan Dunne for the images and some text.
Image credits: Near-Earth Asteroid
Near Earth Object Program.