New observation suggests Apophis asteroid might impact Earth in 2068

An astronomer from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy (IfA) has published critical new findings linked to the asteroid Apophis. Dave Tholen and collaborators have detected Yarkovsky acceleration of Apophis, increasing the possibility of an impact with Earth in 2068.

Yarkovsky acceleration arises from an extremely weak force acting on an object in space due to non-uniform thermal radiation. The magnitude of the force and thus the acceleration is dependant on many factors. Factors include the exact shape of the asteroid, its orientation, and its measure of diffuse reflection of solar radiation.

- Advertisement -

Asteroids maintain a thermal equilibrium by reradiating the energy they absorb from sunlight in the form of heat. This process causes a slight change in their orbits. Yarkovsky’s effect is most significant for meteoroids and small asteroids of about 10cm to 10Kms in diameter.

Image: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Astronomers had earlier ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact in 2068 for Apophis. Now the detection of Yarkosvsky acceleration makes the 2068 impact a possibility. The team’s findings are presented in a paper at the 2020 virtual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

Read Also: NASA to launch delicate stowing of samples from asteroid Bennu

Apophis, a 370 meter-sized asteroid, will make a close approach to Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029. It will be visible to the naked eye as it passes within the Earth’s communications satellite belt.

- Advertisement -

Tholen said, “The new observations we obtained with the Subaru telescope earlier this year were good enough to reveal the Yarkovsky acceleration of Apophis, and they show that the asteroid is drifting away from a purely gravitational orbit by about 170 meters per year, which is enough to keep the 2068 impact scenario in play.” Tholen has been accurately tracking the motion of the Apophis since his team discovered it in 2004.

The co-author of the paper, Davide Farnocchia from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, performed Apophis’s orbital calculations.

Further observations are underway to refine the impact of the Yarksovky effect on Apophis’s orbit. Well before 2068, astronomers will know if there is a slight chance of impact.

Do you want to publish on Apple News, Google News, and more? Join our writing community, improve your writing skills, and be read by hundreds of thousands around the world!

- Advertisement -

Source: Phys.org

More from Space – News Landed

+ NASA to announce exciting discovery about Moon
+ The REx has landed: NASA spacecraft makes landing on asteroid Bennu

+ The Senate: A Race to 50
+ Diet drinks cause the same heart issues as other sweetened beverages, new study finds

Related Stories

OSIRIS-REx successfully collects samples from Asteroid Bennu

The little satellite that could: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is even more successful than the space agency anticipated. When we last left...

Need some extra cash? Charter a ship to an asteroid worth a cool $10,000 Quadrillion

Looking for some extra cash during the pandemic?  All you have to do is go for a 230 million mile...

Featured Stories

Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris elected to the White House

At around 11:25 a.m. on November 7, 2020, after nearly 90 hours since polls first closed throughout the United...

Match 55 Nov 2: DC win comfortably against RCB, but both the teams qualify

Penultimate league game, and we still have no clue as to which three teams will join Mumbai Indians in...

IPL 2020: Simple break-down of playoffs scenarios for each team

Just 4 matches into the knock-out stage, we see that 6 teams are fighting for the left-over 3 play-offs...

Possibility of habitable planets around red dwarfs

How habitable are planets that orbit the most common type of stars in the Galaxy?  A new study led by...

The Method Behind King Trump’s Madness

Like Shakespeare’s mad King Lear, President Trump realized early on, “In jest, there is truth.” While his quips omit...

Lockdown Lifted: After over 3 months of lockdown, Melbourne, Australia opens up

MELBOURNE, Australia—In a rare bit of good news during this pandemic, one city has finally seen success in their...

Comment Below

OSIRIS-REx successfully collects samples from Asteroid Bennu

The little satellite that could: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is even more successful than the space agency anticipated. When we last left...

Need some extra cash? Charter a ship to an asteroid worth a cool $10,000 Quadrillion

Looking for some extra cash during the pandemic?  All you have to do is go for a 230 million mile...