Ebene Magazine – The famous asteroid Apophis is approaching Earth this weekend

The asteroid’s fame should precede Apophis 99942. Since 2004, it has been one of the most dangerous NEO, and previous predictions indicate that the chances of a collision between this rock and our planet are very high. The additional observations led to better estimates, and astronomers had a chance to see it again this weekend.

At 1:15 a.m. UTC on March 6, Apophis will be 16.9 million kilometers (10.5 million miles) from Earth. A very safe distance if you are thinking about risks, and very close if you are thinking of gathering important data. When it comes to near-Earth objects, the Apophis is very large – between 340 and 370 meters (1115 and 1,214 feet) in diameter. But as far as astronomers go, it is small and dark, which makes it extremely difficult to study.

Thus, every approach close is an opportunity to learn more. Unfortunately, this year we don’t have the Arecibo Observatory at our disposal after its catastrophic collapse. The radio telescope has been invaluable in studying near-Earth objects and is said to have provided important new information about Apophis.

Apophis corridor closest to Earth in the near future is April 13, 2029. It will approach our planet as a geostationary orbit, where telecommunications satellites are placed. When it was discovered 17 years ago, this close passage became alarming, as there was only one in twenty chance that it would reach our planet. We now know that it will safely pass 31,200 kilometers (19,400 mi) from the Earth’s surface. This is now known with an uncertainty of 50 kilometers (31 mi), making it a very safe estimate.

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The next date scientists focus on now is April 12, 2068. Using observations from 2020 and the past month, researchers were able to reduce the odds of impact from 1 in 150,000 to 1 in 380,000. This will help boost these estimates further.

In the year 2029, the asteroid will be visible with the naked eye, because it is so close to our planet. But it’s way too far and too dark in the close clip this year. This does not mean that it is impossible to see, but you do need to have a telescope and be in the right place at the right time.

Apophis will make some disruptions over the next week. This means it will pass by a star, blocking its light, which can be used to learn more about it – or just enjoy an astral eclipse. If you are interested in where to watch this show, viewers at Unistellar have your back. Apophis occult can be seen from North America on the morning of March 7, and in Europe on the evening of March 11.

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