Discovered in 2004, the asteroid Apophis has long been considered “not very dangerous” for the Earth: it was believed that a celestial body object weighing 2.7 * 1010 kilograms and a radius of about 185 meters will pass near the Earth in 2013, 2029, 2036 and 2068, not causing her significant damage.
However, a study by American astronomer David Tholen and his colleagues showed that the asteroid should be treated with more caution. Tholen’s thoughts outlined in the report, made during an online meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, writes pcnews.ru.
Tholen and his colleagues noted that earlier researchers did not take into account the so-called Yarkovsky effect, in which the sun’s rays fall on one side of the asteroid. This leads to the appearance of a reactive impulse due to heating and cooling of this side and gives the celestial body an additional acceleration.
This effect leads to the fact that Apophis deviates from the calculated trajectory by about 170 meters per year. In this case, the asteroid is gradually approaching our planet. Consequently, the probability of its collision with the Earth is slightly higher than previously assumed.
Tholen believes that in 2029 and 2036 the risk of an asteroid colliding with a planet remains purely mathematical. But the passage of Apophis by the Earth in 2068 may turn into a catastrophe on a planetary scale – and it is worth somehow preparing for this. Studying Apophis as it approaches in 2029 should give scientists a more complete idea of whether this object will threaten humanity 39 years later.
Earlier, “FACTS” wrote that the NASA space agency published a video of the rotation asteroid Bennu, which is also considered potentially dangerous for the Earth.