Although not nearly as threatening as it was first perceived to be upon its discovery, the asteroid 99942 Apophis still has a very slight chance of impacting our planet on Friday, April 13, 2036. It will get closer to Earth this year, giving astronomers a chance to refine its trajectory for good and know whether we're in trouble. And you can get a glimpse of it online tomorrow, courtesy of the Slooh Space Camera.
The 27-megaton asteroid has a diameter of roughly three football fields, and would pack a society-ending punch if it really impacted Earth. So astronomers are interested in nailing down its trajectory and characteristics.
At its maximum brightness, it will still be quite dim, with an apparent magnitude of 19.7. That's not bright enough for a backyard telescope, but it should be enough for telescopes in remote spots like the Canary Islands, where Slooh's is located. The Arecibo Observatory and other radio observatories will also be watching.
It is named for the Egyptian god Apep the Uncreator, who tried to swallow the sun god Ra as he crossed the sky. The Greeks called him Apophis, and he personified death, destruction and chaos.
Originally, asteroid Apophis was thought to have a 2.7 percent chance of impacting Earth in 2029, but this was later dramatically reduced. It will still give Earth a close shave, flying by within the range of our geosynchronous satellites. And there's a very small chance that during that approach, Earth's gravitational influence will tug on it just enough to bring it back for good in 2036. Understanding its spin direction, size and other characteristics will help answer that question.
Or, new measurements could also confirm it will safely pass more than 30.5 million miles from Earth in 2036. Meanwhile, you can take a look at it here.
If it hits I pray it hits the bad guys on the other side of the world.
Water proof or Starbucks proof is ideal!
Nothing ruins a nice day like coffee on your phone or laptop!
Now if Sony will just make a jumbo size 6" one them I'm interested.
Mmmm, PoPSCi wrote an article recently of the possible consideration of putting an asteroid in orbit around the Moon by NASA. If its NASA considered priority to park a asteroid verse blocking one from hitting Earth, I think this Earth killer is highly unlikely of hitting Earth.
Then again, perhaps all this fiscal doom talk is realy a means to siphon of money to pay for asteroid blocker and we are all being kept in the dark, to prevent panic.
@ new....I think this one would cause an eventual "extinction event" like the dinosaurs, wouldn't matter where it smacked the planet.....And if this new fly by provides more accurate predictions for its return, and we do become in danger, then all of the "petty" squabbles across the planet are going to seem miniscule in comparison. But some idiots across the planet will keep on fighting until Apophis actually smacked the ground. Either way, science had better follow science fiction and we definitely take it out "Armaggedon" style or do something about it. Life as we know it for some is tough enough as it is, some will want to keep on living, some would welcome death, it would just be a rather (well I can't define what type of existence it would be)"unique" existence if we were to know the exact date for our "impending doom", or life as we know it...I shutter to think what lunatics may do knowing we are definitely going to be hit in the future.
Considering cosmic variations of the cosmos could of change ever so slightly over the last 5124 years Mayan calendar, perhaps they prediction of planetary doom was correct, but little changes happen in our solar system that were not accounted for and our DOOM date will just come a little later!
Hmm... Wouldn't it be more efficient to just launch a missile to blow an asteroid away? Not that there wouldn't be side effects such as a new dangerous course, dangerous fragments and whatnot. I'm just not sure that covering an asteroid with reflective material or pushing it away is efficient. Just a thought.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own.
NOCELL makes a valid point. If we knew for sure when the world would end, what sort of horrible, unthinkable things would happen? Knowing that the end is coming would invite crime and terror without regard to punishment or fear of death.
@artex, the main thing keeping us from just blowing it away is that we don't know what it's made of nor it's density.
A dense rock way be able to be knocked off course, but a less dense rock may just get blown to pieces that can still hit us.
There was a special on History about this. Actually reaching it is problematic too.
It can work, but it's tricky...
a diameter of 3 football fields certainly would create a big crater, but not enough to end the world. that would take an asteroid with a diameter of several miles at least...imho
The asteroid is hollow and carved out to be a space ship. Once it is close enough to Earth, the outer shell will break away and the aliens will begin their attack!
The aliens find it amusing that NASA is considering putting one of their scout space ship disguise as a smaller asteroid in orbit around the moon. It seems all is going according to their plan.
The Annunaki are returning.....
The size of a few football fields :/ I don't care what the density and velocity are, that thing couldn't withstand 50 high yield nukes bustin' up it face!!!