Asteroid 2020 VV risk corridor for the obsolete virtual impactor of 12 October 2033.

Sentry is a highly automated impact prediction system operated by the JPL Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS) since 2002. It continually monitors the most up-to-date asteroid catalog for possibilities of future impact with Earth over the next 100+ years.[1] Whenever a potential impact is detected it will be analyzed and the results immediately published by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.[1] However, several weeks of optical data are not enough to conclusively identify an impact years in the future.[2] By contrast, eliminating an entry on the risk page is a negative prediction (a prediction of where it will not be).[2]

Scientists warn against worrying about the possibility of impact with an object based on only a few weeks of optical data that show a possible Earth encounter years from now.[2] Sometimes, it cannot even be said for certain what side of the Sun such an object will be at the time of the listed virtual impactor date.[2] For example, even though 2005 ED224 had a 1-in-500,000 chance of impacting Earth on 11 March 2023, it was expected to be farther than the Sun at the time.[3] Most objects on the Sentry Risk Table have an observation arc of less than 14 days and have not been observed for years.

There are 1620 near-Earth asteroids listed on the risk table with 37,736 virtual impactor dates. For each asteroid listed on the risk table there are on average about 23 virtual impactors. Only about 19 objects on the risk list are large enough to be considered potentially hazardous objects with a diameter greater than about 140 meters. The average size of an object on the default page of Sentry is 120 meters with an average impact probability of 1:500. More eccentric orbits (such as 2015 RD36) that extend to nearly the orbit of Jupiter can make atmospheric entry at velocities of ~40 km/s (25 mi/s).[4]

Sentry Risk Table

Objects with better than a 1/500 (0.2%) cumulative chance of impact
Object Cumulative
Date of
Greatest Risk

2010 RF12 10% 2095-09-05 7 4374
2020 CD3 2.5% 2082-09-09 2 742
2006 RH120 1.3% 2044-02-08 4 281
2017 WT28 1.2% 2104-11-24 8 19
2020 VW 0.70% 2074-11-02 7 14
2006 JY26 0.50% 2074-05-03 7 3
2020 CQ1 0.46% 2070-02-03 6 29
2022 SX55 0.40% 2035-09-17 3 1
2022 NX1 0.32% 2075-12-03 8 142
2000 SG344 0.27% 2071-09-16 37 507
2022 YO1 0.23% 2024-12-17 3 1
2020 VV 0.23% 2056-10-11 12 61
2017 LD 0.22% 2079-06-10 11 45
2000 LG6 0.21% 2094-05-27 5 2

The Impact Risk page lists a number of lost minor planets that are, for all practical purposes, permanent residents of the risk page; their removal may depend upon a serendipitous rediscovery.[5] Lost asteroid 1979 XB has been on the list since the list's inception.[6] 2007 FT3 and 2014 MV67 with their very short 1-day observation arcs have missed virtual impactor dates as they were likely quite distant from the Earth at the time. 1997 XR2 was serendipitously rediscovered in 2006 after being lost for more than 8 years. 2004 BX159 was determined to be a harmless main belt asteroid in 2014. Some objects on the Sentry Risk Table, such as 2000 SG344, might even be artificial.[7]

2010 RF12 is the asteroid with greatest probability (10%) of impacting Earth, but is only ~7 meters in diameter. The only numbered objects with observation arcs of several years are (29075) 1950 DA and 101955 Bennu.[1] Notable asteroids removed from Sentry include (most recently removed listed first): 99942 Apophis, (410777) 2009 FD, 2006 QV89, 2017 XO2, 1994 WR12, 2007 VK184, 2013 BP73, 2008 CK70, 2013 TV135, 2011 BT15, 367943 Duende, and 2011 AG5.

Of the 160 asteroids with better than a 1-in-10,000 chance of impacting Earth only 101955 Bennu is larger than 50 meters in diameter.

The soonest virtual impactor of an asteroid larger than 50 meters in diameter with a better than 1:1-million chance of impact is 2022 PX1 on 11 August 2040 with a 1:330000 chance of impact.[8] It is estimated to be 120-meters in diameter, has a short observation arc of 3.1-days, and is expected to be 1.78 AU (266 million km) from Earth on 11 August 2040.[9] The impact scenario is outside the 3-sigma uncertainty region of ± 240 million km.

The asteroid with the greatest chance of impacting Earth in 2023 is 2016 LP10 (4-meters in diameter) with less than a 1-day observation arc.[8] It had a 1:53,000 chance of impact on 10 June 2023, but was expected to be around 0.6 AU (90 million km) from Earth on that date.[10] Such an impact would be similar to 2008 TC3.

With a 24-day observation arc, 2017 SA20 has the most virtual impactors with 1244 virtual impactor dates.[1][11]

The diameter of most near-Earth asteroids that have not been studied by radar or infrared can generally only be estimated within about a factor of 2 based on the asteroid's absolute magnitude (H).[1] Their mass, consequently, is uncertain by about a factor of 10. For near-Earth asteroids without a well-determined diameter, Sentry assumes a generic albedo of 0.15.

In August 2013, the Sentry Risk Table started using planetary ephemeris (DE431) for all NEO orbit determinations.[12] DE431 (JPL small-body perturber ephemeris: SB431-BIG16) better models the gravitational perturbations of the planets and includes the 16 most massive main-belt asteroids.[12] In April 2021, Sentry transitioned to DE441 which removed the very low impact probability of short-arc 2014 MV67 which had been less than 1:1-billion. The switch to DE441 also briefly added in the harmless Jupiter trojan 2014 ES57 with a very low impact probability of about 1:1-billion.

JPL launched major changes to the website in February 2017 and re-directed the classic page on 10 April 2017.

In 2021 JPL launched Sentry-II which handles the Yarkovsky effect that can significantly change a small asteroids path over decades and centuries.[13] Sentry-II defaults to an Impact Pseudo-Observation (IOBS) analysis technique that runs an extended orbit-determination filter that tries to converge to an impacting solution compatible with the observational data.


Plot of orbits of known potentially hazardous asteroids

As of September 2023, there are over 32,955 near-Earth objects of which roughly 1,620 near-Earth asteroids are listed on the risk table.[1] Only around 19 objects on the risk table are large enough to qualify as potentially hazardous objects with a diameter greater than 140 meters (absolute magnitude brighter than 22). About 99% of the objects on the risk table are less than roughly 140 meters in diameter. Roughly 1,200 of these risk-listed near-Earth asteroids are estimated to be about the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor (H>26), which killed no one but had 1,491 non-direct injuries; or smaller. More than 3,140 asteroids have been removed from the risk table since it launched in 2002.[14]

The only two comets that briefly appeared on the Sentry Risk Table are 197P/LINEAR (2003 KV2) and 300P/Catalina (2005 JQ5).[14]

JPL SBDB comparison

The JPL Small-Body Database close approach table lists a linearized uncertainty. Sentry computations explore alternate orbit solutions along the line of variations and account for orbit propagation nonlinearities.


Sentry's little brother Scout scans recently detected objects on the Minor Planet Center's Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page with designations that are user-assigned and unofficial as they have not been confirmed by additional observations.[15] The impact risk assessment is rated on a scale of 0–4 (negligible, small, modest, moderate, or elevated).[note 1] Scout is used to help identify imminent impactors.

See also


  1. ^ "Negligible" (0) is for objects where no impacting solution was identified. "Small" (1) is for objects with a <0.1% chance of impact. "Modest" (2) is for a 0.1-1% chance. "Moderate" (3) is for a 1-10% chance, and "Elevated" (4) is for a >10% chance of impact.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Sentry Risk Table". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. Retrieved 13 April 2017. (Click "Use Unconstrained Settings" to see how many objects are on the list; H<=22 for list of PHAs)
  2. ^ a b c d Jon Giorgini (30 July 2002). "Understanding Risk Pages". Columbine, Inc. (hohmanntransfer). Archived from the original on 8 December 2002. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  3. ^ "2005ED224 Ephemerides for March 2023". NEODyS (Near Earth Objects – Dynamic Site). Retrieved 26 March 2021. (Having not been observed since 2005 with an orbital period of 2.6±0.3 years, we do not know where on its orbit 2005 ED224 is.)
  4. ^ "Sentry Risk Table: 2015 RD36" (using 2022-Sep-13 solution). NASA JPL CNEOS. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  5. ^ "IMPACT RISK ASSESSMENT: AN INTRODUCTION". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 31 August 2005. Archived from the original on 19 April 2002. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  6. ^ "2002 Archive of Sentry Risk Table". Archived from the original on 21 March 2002.
  7. ^ "Much Ado about 2000 SG344". NASA Science. NASA. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  8. ^ a b "VI (Virtual Impactor) Data". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. Retrieved 9 November 2022. Unconstrained Settings, Sort by Date. For objects larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor and better than 1:1 million also include Impact Probability ≥ 1e-6 and H≤26 (17–38 meters).
  9. ^ "JPL Horizons: 2022 PX1 geocentric distance and uncertainty on 11 August 2040". JPL Horizons. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  10. ^ "Horizons Batch for 2023-06-10 Virtual Impactor". JPL Horizons. Archived from the original on 9 November 2022. Retrieved 9 November 2021. RNG_3sigma = uncertainty range in km. (JPL#4/ 2021-Apr-15 generates RNG_3sigma = 134116335 km for 2023-Jun-10.)
  11. ^ Sentry: 2017 SA20 (1244 VIs) using 2022-Aug-30 solution
  12. ^ a b "Sentry Notes". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  13. ^ "NASA's Next-Generation Asteroid Impact Monitoring System Goes Online". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. 6 December 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Removed Objects". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. Archived from the original on 25 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.(Search for "P/" to list comets removed.)
  15. ^ "Scout: NEOCP Hazard Assessment". NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office. Retrieved 26 June 2019.