Jump to content

What is the God of Chaos asteroid?

Recommended Posts

  • Administrator


Nasa has begun preparations for the arrival of a huge asteroid that is on course to pass unnervingly close to Earth a decade from now.

Scientists at the US space agency say the fly-by of 99942 “Apophis” - named for the ancient Egyptian god of chaos - is expected to take place on 13 April 2029.

According to the latest calculations, the asteroid will pass within 19,000 miles of our planet, briefly putting it closer to Earth than some man-made satellites, and ten times closer than our moon.

Stargazers will see the fly-by as a speck of light streaking across the sky, which will rapidly get brighter and faster as it approaches.

The Independent reports that it is “very rare for asteroids of this size to go past so close”.

Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, believes such a close approach “will be an incredible opportunity for science”.

“We’ll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes,” she said. “With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few metres in size.”

Although the Nasa preparations were revealed just days after the head of the agency warned it is “time to take the threat of an Earth-destroying asteroid seriously”, researchers have ruled out the possibility of Apophis striking Earth, Sky News reports.

But if its course is changed significantly by Earth’s gravity during the 2029 fly-by, could Apophis spell ultimate doom for mankind?

What kind of asteroid is Apophis?

The near-Earth asteroid was discovered in June 2004 by scientists working at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

Apophis is currently travelling at tens of thousands of miles per hour and has an estimated diameter of around 370 metres - longer than the Eiffel Tower end-to-end.

The space rock is believed to be “bilobed”, meaning it consists of two large chunks of rock connected by a thinner “neck” section. Referred to as “contact binary”, asteroids of this type are usually comprised of two formerly separate smaller chunks of ice and rock that fused at their contact point.

What can we learn from the 2029 fly-by?

Apophis presents a rare research opportunity for scientists, as most asteroids that pass near our planet “aren’t more than 30ft wide”, reports science news site Gizmodo.

Davide Farnocchia, an astronomer at JPL’s Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS), says it is important to study the space rock’s interior and how Earth’s gravity might impact it.

“We already know that the close encounter with Earth will change Apophis’ orbit, but our models also show the close approach could change the way this asteroid spins, and it is possible that there will be some surface changes, like small avalanches,” Farnocchia said.

Paul Chodas, director of CNEOS, added that Apophis is “representative of about 2,000 currently known potentially hazardous asteroids”, and that “by observing Apophis during its 2029 fly-by, we will gain important scientific knowledge that could one day be used for planetary defence”.

Are scientists sure it won’t hit us?

Space enthusiasts may recall that Apophis has form when it comes to spooking humans. In 2004, shortly after the asteroid was discovered, Nasa triggered a wave of doomsday prophesising by revealing that their calculations had given Apophis a 2.7% - or around one in 300 - chance of hitting Earth in 2029. Nasa later revised its estimations to definitively rule out the possibility of an impact then.

However, concerns remained about the extremely slim chance that Apophis would, in 2029, pass through a so-called “gravitational keyhole” as it flies by Earth. Experts said that if the asteroid flew through this very specific half-mile-wide gap of space, its orbit would be nudged out of place by our gravity - setting it on a direct collision course with Earth during its next approach, in 2036. This eventuality was officially ruled out in 2013.

CNEOS astronomer Farnocchia told Newsweek that the orbit of Apophis after the 2036 is harder to predict, but assured any nervous Earth-dwellers: “While we cannot yet completely rule out a collision of Apophis after 2060, those chances are extremely small, less than one in 100,000.”



  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Dafey said:

researchers have ruled out the possibility of Apophis striking Earth,

We're doomed.

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Star app, here’s what it says.


(99942) Apophis


Apophis is a near-Earth asteroid 325 meters in diameter that was discovered on June 19, 2004 by a team at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.


On December 21, 2004 Apophis passed within 0.0963 AU of the Earth. Several days later NASA's automatic Sentry system flagged Apophis with a 1 in 233 chance of impact with the Earth on April 13th, 2029. After further observations, the chance of impact was soon raised to 1 in 37. During this time Apophis ranked at level 4 on the Torino Scale and 1.10 on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale, the highest classification an asteroid has ever achieved on either scale.


If it collided with the Earth, Apophis would have an impact energy of approximately 750 megatons of TNT, approximately 150 times larger than the Tunguska event, and could result in hundreds of millions of human casualties.


However, on December 27th, 2004 the chance of a possible impact in 2029 was effectively eliminated upon further refinement of its orbit. The asteroid will still come within the orbit of our geosynchronous communication satellites, approximately 19,400 miles away from the Earth.


Apophis is the Greek name for the Egyptian demon Apep, an Egyptian god of death and destruction.





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..