Asteroid Apophis: Seven years from today – on Friday, April 13, 2029 – a relatively large and extremely infamous asteroid named 99942 Apophis will zoom past Earth
For many years, astronomers have been on their toe ensuring that various phenomena are reported to the world early enough before their occurrence. A world-wide recognized astronomers’ body NASA which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been doing extensive analysis of expected occurrence which most people forget about even before the dates arrive.
As a reminder, NASA reported about a phenomenon in 2003 concerning an asteroid that will collide with the Earth in the near future. The Astronomers’ body claimed that NASA’S Near Earth Object Program office detected a 1-in-60 probability that a particular asteroid will collide with the Earth in April 13, 2029 expected to be a Friday.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported that the phenomenon will be a mysterious action that has never been observed since the beginning of the world. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a “2004 MN4” asteroid will pass over the Earth at a very close range of about 30,000 km above the ground. This will mark the closest encounter ever witnessed, and will provide a better chance for the scientists to explore the asteroid through a radar.
In addition to the initial reports by NASA in 2003, subsequent observations gave improved predictions that eliminated the chance of an impact on Earth in 2029. Up to 2006, a small chance however remained that during this close encounter between the asteroid and the Earth, the asteroid would pass through a gravitational keyhole that is not more than 800 metres in diameter, which would have set up an upcoming impact exactly seven years later on April 13, 2036.
This prediction kept the phenomenon at Level 1 on the “Torino impact hazard scale” up to August 2006 when the chance this asteroid would pass through the keyhole was discovered to be very small, hence lowered the asteroid’s rating on the Torino scale to about Zero.
Asteroid Apophis to sweep close 7 years from now
Seven years from today – on Friday, April 13, 2029 – a relatively large and extremely infamous asteroid named 99942 Apophis will zoom past Earth. It’ll be easily visible to the eye. Many astronomers will study it. But Apophis will not strike us in 2029. For a time, initial observations of this asteroid suggested that – if, at the 2029 pass, Apophis passed through a region of space only half a mile wide (about 800 meters wide), dubbed a “keyhole” by astronomers – then it might strike us exactly seven years later on April 13, 2036. But, by 2006, that idea had also been disproven.
Apophis is exciting! But it’s not frightening. Here’s the updated story on this amazing asteroid.
Where will Asteroid Aphophis Hit
Apophis is a space rock about 1,000 feet (340 meters) across. Calculations in recent years have proven the asteroid will safely glide past Earth in both 2029 and 2036. In 2029, Apophis should pass at a nominal distance of 19,662 miles (31,643 km) from the Earth’s surface. That’s in contrast to the moon’s average distance of about 250,000 miles (380,000 km). And it’s closer than many Earth-orbiting satellites. As the asteroid encounters Earth’s gravitational field in 2029, one result could be asteroid-quakes on Apophis. This passage will also change the orbit of Apophis slightly.
Not everyone will be able to see Apophis in 2029. If you are in Australia, southern Asia, southern Europe, or Africa, you will have a front-row seat to see this asteroid when it is at its brightest.
When was Asteroid Aphophis Discovered
Astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tuscon, Arizona, discovered Apophis on the evening of June 19, 2004. The team of Dave Tholen, Fabrizio Bernardi, and the late Roy Tucker were searching for asteroids low in the western sky. They were specifically looking for objects in the direction of the sun. The asteroid they found was originally designated 2004 MN4. It was 57 degrees from the sun, unusually close for an asteroid.
But astronomers quickly recognized this asteroid was different from most. It orbits the sun in less than one Earth-year (Apophis takes 323.6 days to orbit the sun. Earth takes 365.3 days). And Apophis gets nearly as close to the sun as the planet Venus, then heads out to just beyond Earth’s orbit. Its orbit defines Apophis as what astronomers call an Aten-class asteroid.