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Small-Body Orbits & Ephemerides

The orbits for all known small-bodies are provided via JPL’s Small-Body DataBase (SBDB). In this context, small-bodies are defined as comets and asteroids, where “asteroids” includes Kuiper-belt objects (TNOs) and dwarf planets. In addition to orbital elements and physical parameters, the SBDB provides uncertainties in each orbital element which are useful in observation planning, hazard assessment and mission planning.

The SBDB is kept up-to-date. As new small bodies are announced and as new data (astrometry) for existing small bodies are made available, we automatically compute new orbits typically within an hour or two.


Use the Horizons web-interface to generate ephemerides for any small body available in our SBDB. See the main Horizons webpage for alternative interfaces. Small-body SPK files can also be generated via Horizons. You should be familiar with the NAIF Spice toolkit if you plan to read these data files directly.

Orbital Elements

Orbital elements are available via the SBDB. The SBDB can be accessed in a variety of ways:

In addition, plain-text tables of elements, updated daily, are available for all objects in the SBDB.

Page Description
Database Lookup Given a specific small-body designation, display available data related to that object including orbital elements, physical parameters, discovery circumstances, and many others.
Database Query This tool allows the user to find all small-bodies in our database that match zero or more user-specified constraints and either output the number of matching bodies or output specific fields of interest.
Small-Body Orbital Elements Provides ASCII (plain-text) data files in column-fixed format for all objects in the small-body database.
Horizons Provides access to key solar system data and flexible production of highly accurate ephemerides for solar system objects.