TORONTO-Scientists are tracking an asteroid that is accelerating as it pierces our solar system and warns that it will hit the Earth in the next 50 years.
The asteroid Apophis (named after the Egyptian god of chaos) was first discovered in 2004. At the time, astronomers estimated that the probability of the asteroid Apophis hitting the Earth in 2036 was 2.7%.
People don’t believe this anymore, but new research shows that asteroids are less likely to collide with our planet later.
David Tholen said at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society: “The 2068 impact scenario is still in play.”
Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii, said at the conference that observations of Apophis earlier this year revealed signs of Yarkovsky acceleration-a process that gives the asteroid a “tiny boost from the heat emitted.”
Approach to closure
It is nearly ten years before astronomers can better predict where Apophis will travel in 2068.
These clues will come from rigorous practices in 2029-as Tholen said, “On all dates, Friday, April 13”. It can be seen with the naked eye, as bright as one of the Big Dipper.
On that day, asteroids are expected to approach our planet like communication satellites. The exact distance will determine whether its path will tap it to our planet in 39 years.
Tholen said: “We will know that that happened exactly where it passed the earth, which will make it easier for us to predict your impact.”
“If it passes at the correct distance from the earth, the gravity of the earth will change its orbit enough to make it return and hit the earth. . “
What will happen?
When the asteroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor. When it fell to the ground, it became a meteorite.
Meteorites are very common. Some of them are very close to our planet without even being discovered. Most of the time, they are small. Apophis is not the case.
According to NASA, about once every 2,000 years, the Earth is hit by a falling cosmic object, the size of which is equivalent to a football field and the size of a football field. The size of Apophis is three times this size, with a diameter of 323 meters. As long as the Eiffel Tower is high.
NASA says that if Apophis hits the Earth and remains mostly intact when it falls to the ground, its size could cause significant local damage. In other words, it is not enough to cause a global disaster, like the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Nonetheless, the potential for impact still exists-which means that astronomers will eagerly wait for the pass in 2029, eager to collect as much information as possible.
Torun said: “We need to track this asteroid very carefully.”