Asteroid Apophis will have its nearest approach to planet Earth today, January 9. Viewers can watch the live streaming of the asteroid flyby at the website Slooh.com. The online sky-watching service will also provide footages from other observatories all over the world.
On Wednesday night, the online Slooh Space Camera will start monitoring the movement of the massive asteroid Apophis as it passes by planet Earth. "The Wednesday night passage will be too dim for even backyard telescopes," Slooh President Patrick Paolucci said in a statement.
On Thursday starting at 11 a.m. (AEST), viewers can still watch the Slooh online cameras observing this time the asteroid's orbit towards the Sun. "Alone among all these near-Earth asteroids that have passed our way in recent years, Apophis has generated the most concern worldwide because of its extremely close approach in 2029 and potential impact, albeit small, in 2036. We are excited to cover this asteroid live for the general public," Paolucci further stated.
Meanwhile, National Aeronautics and Space Administraion (NASA) Scientists dismissed reports of asteroid Apophis colliding with Earth today but claims there is this slight possibility that it may happen in 2036. Current space models indicate the collision possibility if the asteroid pass through a 1 km.sq. Y-shaped area in space as it reaches Earth's orbit in 2019.
In 2029, Apophis is estimated to approach Earth uncomfortably at a distance of only 30,000 kilometers. With that, the asteroid is already placed inside the orbit of communication satellites. Scientists are now devoted in obtaining the precise measurements of the space rock's properties such as weight, density, color and shape.
A recent statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena,California reads: "Scientific interest in Apophis is acute and it's very important to learn as much as we can about this object when it gets close enough for physical observations."
Asteroid Apophis' radar observations are scheduled on February 2013. Data gathered will greatly help in improving the asteroid's orbit analyses as well as identifying the impact chances. "Due to the proximity of its orbit to Earth, Apophis is being considered as a potential target for both robotic and crewed spacecraft missions," NASA's JPL further stated.
If asteroid Apophis does hit the Earth in 2036, NASA scientists computed that the collision could produce an explosion equivalent to over 500 megatons of TNT.
All eyes are set at the skies as a big hazardous asteroid is nearing Earth. According to scientists there is an actual possibility that the 300-meter-wide Apophis will eventually strike our planet, but the catastrophe is not imminent.
On Wednesday the dangerous space traveler is passing Earth at 14 million km – the distance which raises no concerns. Apophis near approach, which may have been observed around 00:00 GMT, was traced by Slooh Space Camera.
The asteroid is planning a series of come backs of which the one in 2036 is said to be most threatening.
Named after the Ancient Egyptian evil demon, Apophis was discovered in 2004. The initial estimations indicated the probability that in 2029 the asteroid would strike Earth. However, additional calculations lessened this possibility and postponed it till 2036.
According to NASA scientists in 2029 Apophis may pass through a gravitational keyhole which would change his orbit causing imminent collision with Earth in 2036.
According to NASA calculations if the hazardous asteroid collides with Earth the effect will be equivalent to an explosion of 510 megatons of TNT, which is roughly 10 times more than the effect of the biggest hydrogen bomb ever exploded.
The effect would vary depending on the angle. The collision would cause massive destruction across thousands of square miles, however would not bring any long-term global consequences.
In May 2012 NASA released report revealed that there are about 4,700 asteroids of 100 meters diameter and larger representing significant threat to Earth with only one third of them located and the rest under the radar.
This NASA image shows asteroid Apophis. The asteroid Apophis, which should barely touch the Earth in 2029 and could possibly hit in 2036, approaches earth on January 9, 2013 at a distance of 14.4 million kilometers, astronomers said January 8, 2012. (AFP Photo/NASA/JPL UH/IA)
(PHOTO CREDIT: flickr creative commons) Even with researchers refining their data, "there is still a tiny chance of an impact” for April 13, 2036, says NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.