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Astronomers illuminate the ‘God of Chaos’ asteroid Apophis ahead of Earth’s flyby in 2029

SCIENTISTS have shed new light on a near-Earth asteroid nicknamed the “God of Chaos.”

The space rock Apophis is as tall as the Empire State Building and is expected to just pass Earth in 2029.

Apophis poses no immediate threat to Earth, but would cause serious damage if its trajectory ever steered it down to Earth

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Apophis poses no immediate threat to Earth, but would cause serious damage if its trajectory ever steered it down to Earth
The asteroid Apophis was discovered on June 19, 2004. It is not expected to hit our planet for the next 100 years

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The asteroid Apophis was discovered on June 19, 2004. It is not expected to hit our planet for the next 100 yearsPhoto credit: UH/IA

Apophis was discovered in 2004 and was thought for a time to be on a collision course with our planet.

In view of this, according to Nasa, his name refers to an Egyptian “demon snake that embodied evil and chaos”.

However, an analysis of the object’s orbit last year found that Earth is safe from impacts for at least the next century.

During the next flyby in eight years, scientists hope to use radio observations to refine estimates of Apepa’s orbit around the Sun.

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The work should allow them to safely rule out potential future impacts over the next few centuries.

Before the big event, an international team of researchers analyzed images of the object to get a better idea of ​​its shape and rotation.

in one paper The team, published online Thursday, described using 36 ground-based telescopes and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to make observations during a flyby that spanned 2020 and 2021.

Estimates of its shape and rotation speed were made by measuring the light reflected off the asteroid.

Their calculations show that Apepa rotates about once every 264 hours.

The asteroid is believed to be convex in shape and tumbles through space, making its rotation erratic.

The researchers said the results could be used to guide future missions to the asteroid.

South Korea, for example, plans to send a spacecraft to the object when it approaches in 2029.

Apophis has been the subject of astronomers’ attention for nearly two decades.

According to Nasa, the stone weighs a staggering 67 million tons and is moving at over 3.5 miles per second.

It is used by the automated “Post” Warning system that predicts the next flyby of the object in six years.

Another nine close passes are expected between that date and April 2103.

Although the chance of an impact is slim, the rock will come close enough that Nasa will be keeping an eye on it for the foreseeable future.

Just a slight change in its trajectory could send it hurtling towards our planet and doom anyone near the impact zone.

Based on its size and speed, Nasa calculates that the impact force would equal 1,200,000 kilotons of kinetic energy.

For comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with the force of 15 kilotons of TNT.

It is believed that an attack on Apophis would decimate an area thousands of square miles and leave a crater 3.2 miles wide.

Nasa discovers and tracks asteroids and comets that pass close to Earth using both ground-based and space-based telescopes.

The Near-Earth Object Observation Program, also known as “Spaceguard”, discovers these objects and records their orbits to determine if they pose a threat to our planet.

Named after the ancient Egyptian god of chaos, Apophis put space scientists on high alert after its discovery in 2004.

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They calculated that the 1,200-foot asteroid had a nearly 1 in 30 chance of hitting Earth in 2029, followed by a less likely chance of impact in 2036.

Both were later ruled out, but Nasa has been closely tracking the rock’s trajectory ever since.

Images of Apophis taken by NASA telescopes in 2012

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Images of Apophis taken by NASA telescopes in 2012
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8629594/astronomers-god-of-chaos-asteroid-apophis-earth-flyby-2029/ Astronomers illuminate the ‘God of Chaos’ asteroid Apophis ahead of Earth’s flyby in 2029

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