|Discovered by Spacewatch|
MPC designation (162058) 1997 AE12
Minor planet category Amor · NEO
Discovered 10 January 1997
Asteroid group Amor asteroid
|Discovery date 10 January 1997|
Alternative names 1997 AE12
Observation arc 8218 days (22.50 yr)
Absolute magnitude 17.9
|Discovery site Kitt Peak National Observatory|
(162058) 1997 AE12 is a near-Earth object and Amor asteroid, approximately 800 meters in diameter. It was discovered on 10 January 1997, by the U.S Spacewatch project at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. It holds the record for being the slowest-rotating asteroid discovered so far.
Interactions with other planets
1997 AE12 occasionally makes close approaches to Earth and Mars. Its closest recorded approach to Earth took place on August 30, 2003, when the asteroid came within 0.1238 AU (18,520,000 km) from Earth. It will come closer still on October 8, 2145, when it will be within 0.1042 AU (15,590,000 km) from Earth. 1997 AE12 will make its closest approach to Mars on December 29, 2054 when it will come within 0.0376 AU (5,620,000 km) from the planet.
1997 AE12 is a large asteroid with a diameter of around 850 m (0.53 mi). It is a rare Q-type asteroid with a very dark surface, reflecting only about 7% of the light it receives. The most unusual feature of 1997 AE12, however, is its exceptionally slow rotation period of 1,800 hours (78.3 days). Like other slowly-rotating asteroids such as 912 Maritima, it is possible that the extremely long period of 1997 AE12 is caused by YORP radiation pressure slowing down the asteroid's rotation. This is especially likely considering that 1997 AE12 has a very low albedo, which would allow it to absorb more radiant energy from the Sun. Furthermore, the YORP effect has also been observed on other Q-type asteroids such as 1862 Apollo.