This Dangerous asteroid will come closer to Earth than even our satellites; Will it hit? NASA explains
The 99942 Apophis is a notorious asteroid which has worried scientists for a long time. First discovered in 2004, the asteroid gave the impression for the longest time that it will surely hit Earth during its closest approach on April 13, 2029. And there are reasons for this worry. Shockingly, the massive 370 meters or 1,210-feet wide asteroid is expected to come as close as 20,000 miles to Earth. For reference, this is closer than some of the geostationary satellites in the sky around the Earth. With an asteroid passing at such close distance, there is always a chance that it could get attracted to the Earth by its gravity and crash. And if an asteroid of this size strikes us, it would without a doubt cause a massive disaster. So, will it hit us? Read on to find out.
The Apophis asteroid will come extremely close to the Earth
After its discovery in 2004, astronomers grew very concerned about a real possibility of it striking the Earth. In fact, the possibility kept it at level 1 on the Torino impact hazard scale for a couple of years. The Torino scale is a method for categorizing the impact hazard associated with near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and comets. Level 1 indicates that there is a possibility that the asteroid could come very close to the Earth. However, additional observations of the asteroid have now determined that there is no real possibility of an asteroid strike.
“When I started working with asteroids after college, Apophis was the poster child for hazardous asteroids. With the support of recent optical observations and additional radar observations, the uncertainty in Apophis' orbit has collapsed from hundreds of kilometers to just a handful of kilometers when projected to 2029. This greatly improved knowledge of its position in 2029 provides more certainty of its future motion, so we can now remove Apophis from the risk list,” Davide Farnocchia, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, told BBC.
Even with the low probability of an asteroid strike, Apophis remains one of the most anticipated asteroids due to its close proximity to the Earth. According to NASA, people in the Eastern hemisphere (including India) will be able to watch the asteroid zoom past the Earth sky with their naked eyes.