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Asteroid 2013 GM3 may make close flyby to Earth in 2026

Italy, Apr 27 (): Asteroid 2013 GM3 may make a flyby within 15,000 kilometres from the centre of the Earth or 8,620 kilometres from the surface of the planet on April 14, 2026, said Italian astronomer Francesco Manca of the Sormano Astronomical Observatory near Milan.

The celestial body 2013 GM3 is 20 metres in diameter and will make a pass at a dangerously close distance to Earth’s surface in 13 years, the new data published on Thursday stated.

The asteroid was discovered by Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona in mid-April, but earlier calculations done by NASA revealed the asteroid would pass 39,000 kilometres from the surface of Earth.

Astronomer Francesco Manca said more observations are needed to better determine the trajectory of the asteroid. NASA estimates the probability of collision of the asteroid 2013 GM3 with Earth between 2028 and 2113 is at 0.018%, or 1 in 5,560.

Size of 2013 GM3 can be compared to that of the huge meteorite that blasted in the air over the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals in mid-February, injuring about 1,500 people, most of whom were injured by glass smashing as a result of the shockwave caused due to passing of the meteorite.

On the same day, Earth witnessed a close flyby of Asteroid 2012 DA14, that passed about 17,000 miles above the surface of Earth. Less than a day later, another smaller meteor exploded reportedly over Cuba and a fireball was spotted flashing through the sky over San Francisco.

Asteroids are minor planets that are not comets and they are especially those of the inner Solar System. Larger asteroids are called planetoids.

There are millions of asteroids. The large majority of known asteroids orbit in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Small asteroids passing close to Earth may be visible through our naked eye for a short time. Asteroid 4 Vesta has a relatively reflective surface and is normally visible to the naked eye.