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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Astronomer Claims Asteroid Will Make Dangerously Close FlyBy In 2026

April 26, 2013
Image Credit: Photos.com

Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

After preliminary tracking of a recently discovered asteroid, one Italian astronomer is making the case for a close flyby in 13 years. The new data suggest asteroid 2013 GM3, which is roughly 65 feet in diameter, will pass “dangerously close” to Earth on April 14, 2026.

Francesco Manca of the Sormano Astronomical Observatory (OAS) near Milan, Italy, said a pass looks to be within 5,300 miles of Earth, according to a RIA Novosti report on Thursday. However, shortly after Mount Lemmon Observatory (MLO) in Arizona made the discovery of 2013 GM3 in mid-April, preliminary NASA data suggested the rock would pass Earth at about 24,000 miles from the surface.

Manca said more observations are needed to pinpoint the exact trajectory, as his data suggest the asteroid could also pass as far away as 45,000 miles from the Earth´s surface, according to a message he sent to the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML).

NASA estimates the probability of an Earth collision with 2013 GM3 between 2028 and 2113 at one in 5,560 (or 0.018 percent likelihood).

2013 GM3 is comparable in size to the meteor that exploded over Russia on February 14, 2013, injuring more than 1,000 people. That same day the planet was treated to a close flyby of Asteroid 2012 DA14, which passed about 17,000 miles above Earth´s surface. Less than a day later, a smaller meteor reportedly exploded over Cuba and a fireball was spotted streaking through the sky over San Francisco.

None of the four incidences were connected despite all occurring within a relatively short time frame.


Source: Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online