(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii have noticed changes in the motion of the asteroid Apophis. They can influence the possible collision of a celestial body with the Earth in 2068.
A group of scientists recorded the deviation of Apophis from its original orbit by 170 m per year.
Exploration of the asteroid Apophis
Apophis was discovered on June 19, 2004 by astronomers Roy Tucker, David Tolen and Fabrizio Bernardi at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. They were only able to observe the asteroid for two days due to technical and weather problems. Later that year, a team from the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia discovered the asteroid again.
Since its discovery, optical and radar telescopes have been tracking Apophis, and therefore scientists know its future trajectory. Calculations show that Apophis still has a very small chance of hitting the Earth. But the probability of such an event is very small and the probability of a collision is 1 in 100,000.
The most important observations of Apophis will be made during its close Earth flight in 2029. Scientists around the world will study the size, shape, composition and possibly even the internal structure of the asteroid.
Physical parameters of Apophis
|absolute magnitude H||slope parameter G||Diameter (km)||Albedo||Rotation period (hours)||Spectral type|
Characteristics of the asteroid Apophis
Apophis is a 330 m wide asteroid. At its furthest distance, Apophis can reach a distance of about 2 AU. from the earth. It is expected to make its closest approach to Earth within 31,860 km on April 13, 2029. This is the closest approximation of an asteroid of this size that scientists are aware of.
Orbit and rotation
The orbit of Apophis crosses the orbit of the Earth. It completes its orbit around the Sun in just under one Earth year (about 0.9 years). This places it in the group of Earth-crossing asteroids whose orbits are less than the width of Earth’s orbit, or 1 AU. As a result of its close approach to the Earth in 2029, the asteroid’s orbit will be expanded and become slightly larger than the Earth’s orbit. The asteroid rotates on its axis once every 30 hours.
Apophis is classified as an S-type or rocky asteroid, consisting of silicate (or rocky) materials and a mixture of metallic nickel and iron. Pictures show it is elongated and possibly has two lobes, making it look like a peanut. We will learn much more about the structure of this asteroid after its close flyby of the Earth in 2029.
There are no high-resolution images of the surface of Apophis, but it is likely similar to the surfaces of other rocky-type asteroids such as Itokawa, the first asteroid sampled and brought back to Earth for analysis.
The asteroid Apophis has no atmosphere and no magnetic field.
Data on the asteroid Apophis
- Opening date: June 19, 2004
- Static number: 2004 MN4
- Tracking number: 99942
- Codename: Apophis
- Grade: Type-S (Metals)
- Age: 4.6 billion years
- Size: width 340 meters
- Date of closest approach: April 13, 2029
- Maximum Earth Approach Distance: 31,000 km
- Collision risk: no
- Collision speed: 20 kilometers per second
- Collision energy released: 10 billion joules
- Tracking: ESA NEO Coordination, Italy and CNEOS NASA, USA
The history of the discovery of the asteroid Apophis
The asteroid “2004 MN4” (Apophis) was discovered on June 19, 2004 by American scientists Roy A. Tucker, David J. Tolen and Fabrizio Bernardi while observing space at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA.
In 2005, the asteroid was renamed Apophis, and it was also found out that the object consists of a mixture of metals and was assigned the “S-type”, characteristic of such cosmic bodies.
According to scientists, Apophis is an ancient building block of the solar system. It is 4.6 billion years old and looks like a peanut. A NASA lab in 2006 calculated that there was a 2.7% chance that Apophis would hit the Earth.
However, its passage near our planet may change its further behavior. Now scientists are more concerned not with 2029, but with the second arrival of Apophis in 2068, where the probability of a collision is much greater.
Risks from approaching the asteroid Apophis
In 2021, NASA removed Apophis from the list of risks based on radar and optical tracking data by posting the information on its official website.
According to research, the scenario of the consequences of a collision with the Earth of the asteroid Apophis was also worked out.
So Gareth Collins, professor of earth sciences and engineering at Imperial College London, said that Apophis would have a speed of 45,000 miles per hour, which is 20 kilometers per second, when it hit the Earth, and its energy released after impact would be 10 billion joules. This is a million times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in the middle of the 20th century.
History of the origin of the name
After the discovery, the asteroid received the serial number 2004 MN4. A proper name was given only a year later. According to the existing tradition, the cosmic body was named after the ancient Egyptian character of mythology.
Apophis (or Apop) in Ancient Egypt was called the destroying serpent. Every year he rose from the gloomy dungeon and tried to destroy the god Ra, personifying the sun. According to another version, the scientists who discovered the asteroid had in mind one of the negative characters of the Stargate series.
Basic characteristics of the asteroid Apophis
- absolute magnitude – 19.2 m;
- slope parameter G – 0.15;
- diameter – 270 m;
- albedo – 0.33;
- rotation period – 30-40 hours;
- spectral type – Sq;
- average temperature – 270 K;
- crossing the earth’s orbit from the inside.
Orbit and close encounters
Apophis last passed near the Earth in 2013. In 2029, the asteroid will approach the planet at a minimum distance of 38,400 km, but radial studies have ruled out a collision during this period. And the consequences of the next “meetings” of the Earth and a large space boulder (in 2036 or in 2068) have not yet been accurately predicted.
The asteroid is in an orbit known as resonant returns. Its path in space will always intersect with the earth’s orbit. But how close Apophis will come to the Earth depends on the impact of other cosmic bodies on it. Calculations of the motion of the asteroid are carried out taking into account gravitational waves emanating from the major planets of the solar system, the Sun and nearby space objects.
Possible consequences of the collision of Apophis with the earth
Immediately after the discovery of the asteroid in 2004, NASA began to develop plausible scenarios for the development of events. After it became known that the asteroid has a diameter of more than 300 m, the experts updated the calculations. According to the latest data, the force of the explosion in a collision with the Earth will be equal to 808 or 506 Mt. For comparison: the bomb called “Kid” dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945 had a power of 13-18 Kt, and the Tunguska meteorite is estimated at 10-40 Mt.
Damage depends on many factors:
- the composition of the asteroid;
- places of impact;
- angle of entry into the atmosphere.
Computer simulations have shown that an explosion with a force of about 750 Mt will occur upon impact with the Earth. The soil will rise to a height of over 49 km, and the diameter of the crater will be more than 5 km.
If Apophis falls on the mainland, all settlements and forests will be destroyed within a radius of 300 km. The amplitude of the earthquake at the epicenter will be 6.5 points, and the wind speed will be 792 m/s. If a body enters the ocean or other water basin, a devastating tsunami is likely to occur.
Possible consequences of the failed collision of Apophis
NASA’s initial estimate was that an asteroid impact would have generated an explosion of 1,480 Mt of TNT, which was reduced to 880 and then to 506 Mt after sizing. To estimate the size of a possible catastrophe, compare:
- Tunguska meteorite – 10-40 Mt.
- Volcano Krakatoa (1883) – 200 Mt.
- “Tsar bomb” (explosion on October 30, 1961 at the Dry Nose nuclear test site) – 57 Mt.
- “Kid” over Hiroshima (blown up by the Americans over Hiroshima in 1945, August 6) – 13-18Mt.
The destructive effect of the impact explosion depended on the angle and location of the impact, as well as the density and composition of the asteroid. The destruction would have been huge, would have captured an area of more than 1000 square meters. km without causing global long-term changes. True, the effect of “asteroid winter” would not have been.
Model, hypothetical collision of the asteroid Apophis and the Earth (diameter 270 m, density 3000 kg/m3, re-entry velocity 12.6 km/s):
- The height of destruction is 49.5 km.
- Released energy – 1717 Mt.
- The diameter of the formed crater is 5.97 km.
- Earthquake 6.5 Richter.
- Wind speed – 792 m / s.
As a result, both fortified and non-fortified buildings, metro tunnels would collapse, cracks would form in the ground, etc. would be a devastating tsunami. At a distance of 300 km from the epicenter of the collision of the asteroid with the Earth, all settlements would be destroyed, completely wiped off the face of the earth. After clarifying the data, due to the larger volume and weight of the celestial body, the expected destruction would be even greater.
Elimination of the possible threat of the asteroid Apophis
Perhaps the most exotic option proposed by the international scientific community is to wrap Apophis in a highly reflective film. This should have caused the asteroid’s orbit to change under the pressure of sunlight.
Roscosmos proposed to develop its own project to prevent a collision with the asteroid Apophis. According to Anatoly Perminov, it can be determined that the management was counting on the creation of a spacecraft to remove the asteroid from a dangerous orbit. At the same time, it was not planned to use nuclear weapons. As he said: no explosions. It was supposed to involve international institutions and organizations in cooperation. As the leader put it, we are talking about the lives of billions of people, so saving is not allowed here. It was supposed to spend more than half a billion dollars on the project. After the revised forecasts, which reject the possibility of a catastrophe, the project, most likely, will not receive development.
NASA statement about the asteroid Apophis
NASA announced the almost complete elimination of the possibility of a collision in 2036 of Apophis with the Earth. This conclusion is based on observations of the asteroid on January 9, 2013, when it passed from the Earth at a distance of 14.46 million km.
According to Don Yeomans, the head of the laboratory’s division for the study of objects flying towards the Earth, the probability of a collision is now less than 1/1,000,000, which makes it possible to exclude a catastrophe in 2036. Earlier, in 2029, this probability was about 2.7%.
Also, thanks to these conclusions, fears were gone that due to the rapprochement in 2029 with the Earth, the asteroid’s orbit will change to a more critical one in 2036.
Types of asteroids
- Trojan asteroids;
- near-Earth asteroids;
- Interesting facts about asteroids;
- Classes of asteroids;
- Asteroid orbit;
- What is the difference between an asteroid and a comet;
- The largest asteroids;
- The largest asteroid in the solar system;
- Asteroid Apophis;
- Craters on Earth;
- The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs;
Spacecraft observations of the asteroid Apophis
Scientists have proposed, for a more accurate assessment of the trajectory, mass and composition of the asteroid, to send an AMS (automatic interplanetary station) to it to install a radio beacon there, which allows calculating the correlation of its coordinates in time, as well as more accurately determine the composition and density of the asteroid matter. This will allow for a more accurate calculation of the orbital elements, gravitational perturbations of the orbit from the influence of other planets, and eventually an updated forecast of a collision with the Earth will be obtained.
Planetary Society (Planetary Society) USA in 2008, a competition was announced for the best project to create a small AMS to send to Apophis. It was attended by 37 initiative teams representing 20 countries of the world.
A visit to Apophis is considered as one of the objectives of the AMS Don Quixote project of ESA Europe. A similar goal is pursued by the Apophis-P apparatus from the IKI RAS and Roscosmos. It was also planned to create “Apophis-soil” to return the soil of the asteroid.
Reducing the size of the scattering ellipse of virtual asteroids on the target plane on April 13, 2029 with an increase in the observation interval:
The document highlights several time periods. The fifth period is underway now. It started in June 2019 and will continue until March 2029.
“The evil man is gaining strength,” says the prophecy. And promises big conflicts caused by religious differences. All this will not happen by chance, but will be the result of the skillful manipulations of this person. Perhaps it is the Antichrist. “A lot of evil and no good in these times. The fire will destroy many cities.” Perhaps we are talking about natural disasters – fires, volcanic eruption, meteorite fall.
“But the Great has happened: then they will believe in the One God.” Apparently, tired of confrontation and strife, humanity will find common ground, perhaps a new religion will be created and it will unite people. It is extremely curious that other soothsayers (for example, Nostradamus, John the Theologian) also mention fires related to these dates.
The sixth period will last from March 2029 to August 2030 – and the following is said about it: “the age of the end begins.”
The seventh period is also not long in coming – it begins in August 2030 and ends in April 2032. Here is what is said about him: “God fights with the help of two righteous men, but the evil man prevails.” Further, the soothsayer writes that he sees nothing more. Does this mean that we are still talking about the end of the world? Or is it that each prophet can only see a certain time? We only have 10 years to get answers to these questions.
More about Apophis
So, what is this terrible Apophis? Yes, it’s just a big space rock, about 350 meters across. Apophis is a member of a whole population of near-Earth asteroids that regularly cross the orbit of our planet. It has an irregular shape and looks rather dark. Although when passing near the Earth, it should become bright enough to be visible to the naked eye or with a telescope. Planetary scientists refer to Apophis as an Sq-class asteroid. This means that it is mainly composed of silicate rock. And in its spectrum there are lines corresponding to metals. In the future, asteroids such as Apophis may well become space mines that will be used for mining.
When will the asteroid Apophis hit?
It should be noted that this object belongs to the group of atons whose orbits intersect the earth’s from the inside. Their distance from the Sun is greater at aphelion than at perihelion. Simply put, the farthest point of the orbit matters more than the point that is closer to the star.
As it turned out, this asteroid approaches the planet at points around April 11-14 and October 15-16. For example, the last time this happened was in 2013. Then the gap separating it and the Earth decreased to 14 million 460 thousand km. Thanks to this, more information was collected about him. According to NASA, there was no danger for us.
Aphelion is the most distant point of the orbit of a celestial body from a star, and perihelion, on the contrary, is the closest point to it.
Now we know the exact date when the asteroid Apophis will fly as close to Earth as possible. This will happen on April 13, 2029. At this time, between it and the center of the planet, the distance will be approximately 38,400 km. By the way, it can be seen even with the naked eye.
Latest data about the asteroid Apophis
Of course, scientists are closely watching him. So, constant optical and radar monitoring is carried out, mathematical calculations of the trajectory of its movement and other studies were carried out. According to the data obtained, a collision with the earth’s surface was ruled out.
Previously, it was assumed that the next passage of Apophis by the Earth in 2036 could end in a blow. But NASA experts denied the possibility of such a collision in both 2029 and 2036. They think it’s very unlikely. Here is what the head of the laboratory for the study of objects approaching the Earth said:
“The chances of a collision occurring are less than one in a million.”
True, in the future, a catastrophe can still happen. However, theoretically this should not happen.
Meanwhile, small asteroids quite often cross the Earth’s orbit. But bodies with dimensions like those of Apophis rarely come close to our planet. Therefore, he aroused the interest and excitement of the inhabitants of the Earth.
At the suggestion of Roskosmos, it is required to create a spacecraft in order to evade a collision. It is necessary not to destroy a dangerous object, it is imperative to exclude nuclear explosions. After all, they will harm, first of all, humanity itself. It is necessary, applying the laws of physics and mathematical calculations, to develop a special protective system against space invasions.
I really want to believe scientists. Let’s hope that this famous and dangerous guest in the earth’s orbit will not bring us chaos and misfortune. Perhaps when the asteroid Apophis approaches the Earth, astronomers will collect more data about it. That will help in the future to study and understand the cosmic life around us more deeply.
Maybe when he’s about to fly next time, we’ll be ready to repel the danger. Definitely, it would be better if he plowed open spaces somewhere far away from our planet.
Likely consequences of a collision
The collision of the asteroid Apophis with the Earth’s surface, according to preliminary estimates, would provoke an explosion equal to 1480 Mt. However, this value was subsequently reduced to 880 units, and some time later to 506 Mt, after the dimensions were specified. The effect caused by the destruction depended on the angle of impact and the location of impact. An important role was played by the density of the asteroid composition.
In general, the destruction would be global. They would take over an area of 1,000 square meters without long-term change. An approximate model of this collision is as follows:
- the height at which the destruction occurred – 49.5 km;
- the energy flow released in this case is 1717 Mt;
- diametrical section of the crater that formed – 5.97 km;
- high-speed wind movement – 792 meters per second;
- earthquake – 6.5 points on the Richter scale.
According to preliminary data, the Apophis meteorite could hypothetically lead to the destruction of buildings that have or do not have reinforcement. The subway tunnels would also be destroyed, cracks would appear in the Earth’s crust if the body fell into large reservoirs. If it fell at a distance of 300 meters from settlements, they would all disappear.
Conducted and ongoing observations
Scientists noted that the object should be studied more carefully. To this end, it was proposed to send an AMS to it in order to install a radio beacon that would help calculate the correlation of its coordinates. This approach contributes to the rational and accurate determination of the composition, density, which is endowed with the substance of the asteroid. This approach will contribute to the organization of the most accurate calculations in relation to the orbit and will make it possible to obtain a detailed forecast of a collision with the Earth.
In 2008, the American planetary community announced a competition for the best project, which involves the creation of a small AMS in order to send it to the asteroid Apophis. It was attended by initiative teams in the amount of 37 units. They represented 20 world states. A visit to the object under consideration is a strategic task of the Don Quixote mission.
The procedure for eliminating a probable threat
The most simple and affordable option was proposed by the international scientific community. Its representatives noted that it would be best to wrap the object in a film with a high level of reflective potential. This will lead to a change in its orbit under the influence of sunlight.
The ROSCOSMOS organization proposed the development of its own unique project in order to prevent this collision. Its head noted that the leadership initially relied on the formation of a device that would allow the asteroid to be removed from a dangerous orbit. At the same time, the use of nuclear weapons was not planned. It was assumed that international institutions would be connected to this union. The project budget was from 0.5 billion dollars.
The NASA organization has reported that the asteroid Apophis in 2036, most likely, will not collide with the Earth. This conclusion was made on the basis of the observation, which was organized on January 9, 2013, when the body approached at a distance of 14.46 million km to the Earth. According to the head of the department of the laboratory that studies such objects, at present the probability of a collision is less than 1/1000000.
This makes it possible to eliminate the catastrophe and its negative consequences. For 2029, the predicted probability was 2.7%. Along with this, thanks to the conclusions made, it was possible to get rid of fears that, due to the approach in 2029, the orbit will change to a more critical indicator.
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