An asteroid named Apophis after the ancient Egyptian god of chaos is gaining speed and could fall to earth in just under 50 years. Brilliant.
Astronomers at the University of Hawaii say the asteroid is gaining speed due to uneven radiation.
Dave Tholen, one of the astronomers, explained it to Gizmodo:: “Light emitted by a body gives that body a tiny, tiny push. The warmer side of an asteroid pushes a little harder than the cooler side because the warmer side emits more light (at invisible infrared wavelengths), so there is a network that does not have gravitational force acting on the body.
“It is such a small force that it is not noticeable on larger objects. The smaller the object, the easier it is to see the effect. “
It used to be thought there was no chance the asteroid would hit Earth, but scientists now believe it could hit on April 12, 2068. At least we all have a chance to get our affairs in order.
Tholen said: “The new observations we made with the Subaru telescope earlier this year were good enough to reveal that Yarkovsky Acceleration of Apophis, and they show that the asteroid deviates from a pure gravitational orbit by about 170 meters per year, which is enough to keep the impact scenario of 2068 in play. “
The asteroid has since been listed as the third highest threat on NASA’s “risk table” for objects that could potentially impact Earth.
The probability of the asteroid hitting Earth is 150,000 to one (according to the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale), but Tholen told the news agency that because of the ‘it’s actually closer to 530,000 to one.Yarkovsky cause’.
Experts say further observations need to be made to understand this Yarkovsky Effect and how it affects the asteroid.
And before you worry too much, scientists plan to “know well before 2068 if there is a possibility of an impact”. That’s a relief.
Apophis that is 1340 feet wide, 120 feet wide, was first discovered in 2004 by astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and its movements have been followed since then.
Tholen and his colleagues reported to Gizmodo about observations made with the Subaru telescope earlier this year allowed them ‘Measure the position of the asteroid with an accuracy of about twice the size of the asteroid itself. ”
He added, “Apophis is about 300 meters in diameter and we measured the position to about 700 meters, even though we were about 70 million kilometers from the object.”
The asteroid is said to contain Nickel and iron, and radar images seem to show that it has two “lobes” on either end, making it look slightly peanut-shaped.
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