The giant asteroid 99942 Apophis was previously thought to be one of the deadliest asteroids in the universe and likely to collide with Earth. The approach of the 370-meter asteroid to Earth raised widespread concern when it was first identified, causing the fear of a real collision.
But with new data obtained by astronomers, this situation now seems unlikely. As a result, NASA has declared that Earth will be free of asteroids for the next century.
Nevertheless, the asteroid Apophis remains a source of concern as the flyby approached us in 2029.
How close is Apophis?
Astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA, first discovered an asteroid on June 19, 2004. The asteroid was previously estimated to be 450 meters in diameter. This is about half the size of the 828-meter Burj Dubai, the tallest man-made object in the world. Skyscraper. According to scientists, it was later estimated to have been placed at a much shorter distance, about 370 meters.
Apophis is an asteroid of the Aten group, meaning that its orbit intersects the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. According to a 2005 report in the Astronomy Magazine, co-discoverers Dave Solen and Roy Tucker were fans of the science fantasy TV series Stargate SG-1, whose most famous villain was called Apophis.Apophis flew the Earth on April 13, 2029, at a height of less than 32,000 km. The moon is at a distance of 384,400 km to give some perspectives. This is certainly important because it is closer than many geostationary satellites 36,000 km from the equator. Apophis will be the closest to an asteroid of this size so far. It is close enough for anyone in the Eastern Hemisphere to see it, with or without an observatory or telescope.
What was the route and how likely was it to collide with Earth?
Apophis was the first asteroid in two years to receive a four-star rating on the Turin Impact Hazard Scale. Many were worried that they would hit the Earth, given their proximity, mass, and speed.From the beginning, it was quite possible that such an event did not exist. However, there was still evidence to suspect that an incident could occur. Asteroids can change their orbits if they pass through the keyhole at the right time.
When Apophis was afraid to collide with Earth in 2029, it was once expected that it would be able to fly through the keyhole. If so, its orbit was changed and could be in a collision orbit with a planet in 2036. However, further analysis revealed that it was doubtful that this had happened.