Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Jupiter-family Comet
  • Comparable in size to Mount Everest (2.60 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 10,716,998 km of Earth in 2146
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Not a Potentially Hazardous Object
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

26P/Grigg-Skjellerup is a small comet whose orbit features a relatively short period, low inclination, and is controlled by Jupiter's gravitational effects. NASA JPL has classified 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup as a "Near Earth Asteroid" due to its orbit's proximity to Earth, but it is not considered potentially hazardous because computer simulations have not indicated any imminent likelihood of future collision.

26P/Grigg-Skjellerup orbits the sun every 1,939 days (5.31 years), coming as close as 1.12 AU and reaching as far as 4.97 AU from the sun. 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup is about 2.6 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than most asteroids, comparable in size to Mount Everest.

Close Approaches

26P/Grigg-Skjellerup's orbit is 0.11 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that there is an wide berth between this asteroid and Earth at all times.

26P/Grigg-Skjellerup has 2 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
April 13, 2146 10,716,998 14.962
March 8, 2161 20,144,671 17.874

Images and Observations

26P/Grigg-Skjellerup's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Dec. 19, 1966. It was last officially observed on Sept. 30, 2019. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 635 observations used to determine its orbit.

Accessibility and Exploration

This comet is not considered a viable target for human exploration by the NHATS study.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2454326.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 3.04331583369 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.633052767135
  • Inclination: 22.356490663°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 211.710319638°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 1.70407078127°
  • Mean Anomaly: 318.66072595°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 2.60000 km
  • Magnitude: 15.1

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 1,939 days (5.31 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 17.07 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 4.97 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 1.12 AU

Size Comparison

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup is indicated by a ◯ pink circle. Note that the object may not be in your current field of view. Use the controls below to adjust position, location, and time.