Today an unexpected asteroid came close to Earth

James Marshall
April 16, 2018

The asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 GE3, was closest to Earth at around 2.41 a.m. ET on April 15 when it was spotted about 119,500 miles away, EarthSky.org reports. "It was shining like a 13th magnitude star at the time of my observations".

Based on the intensity of its reflected sunlight, 2018 GE3 must be 48 to 110 meters wide, according to NASA-JPL. This puts him in the same class as a 60-foot meteor in Tunguska, which flattened a forest in Siberia in 1908.

Five years ago, the 10,000-ton, 56-foot Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russian Federation with the force of 30 atomic bombs.

If the asteroid had entered the Earth's atmosphere, it is likely that much of the space rock would have disintegrated, however a mass this large could have caused similar, if not more severe, damage. Nonetheless, it is a substantial asteroid, showing how even big area rocks can still take us by surprise. 2018 GE3 was found less than a day before before its closest approach.

Based upon an observational arc of just 1 day, 2018 GE3 appears to follow an elliptical orbit which extends from the asteroid belt to deep inside the inner planetary system.

A rather large asteroid in 2018 GE3 flies through the system Earth-Moon is at a distance of only 200 km.

EarthSky.org said a preliminary analysis of the asteroid's orbit showed this was the closest 2018 GE has come to Earth since at least 1930.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER