On Friday, a large asteroid the size of the Eiffel Tower passed close to Earth. The asteroid did not pose any danger to Earth on this flight as it was more than 40 times farther from Earth as the moon. However, on April 13, 2029, Apophis will get much closer to Earth.
Scientists consider this week’s flyby as a dress rehearsal for 2029, when Apophis is incredibly close to Earth. That year, Apophis will get closer to Earth than some of the higher orbiting satellites that surround the planet. asteroid It is 1,120 feet wide and is made of rock, iron, and nickel.
Scientists think it almost looks like a peanut and that its proximity to Earth on Friday gave them a closer opportunity to inspect the asteroid. Apophis was too far to be seen with the naked eye, so scientists used NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to photograph the asteroid that flew near it.
The goal of the planetary radar study was to give researchers a baseline for significantly closer flyby in 2029. Apophis is expected to approach Earth 19,800 miles on its next trajectory. Scientists say that Apophis has a very complex spin state in which it sees the asteroid rotating and deteriorating simultaneously
Interestingly, during its closest approach in 2029, Apophis will be visible for a short time with the naked eye over Western Australia. In that region, the asteroid will be as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper. Its closest path to Earth will happen at 6 PM EST on April 13, 2029. It will not hit Earth in 2029 or its next pass in 2036. However, there is a small chance that the asteroid will collide with Earth in 2068.