General, Research, Technology

Asteroid Apophis changed its trajectory. Could he fall to Earth?

Dozens of potentially dangerous asteroids fly around our planet, which can fall and cause a terrible disaster. One of them is the asteroid Apophis discovered in 2004, the size of which is comparable to the height of the largest skyscrapers in the world... This asteroid was already approaching our planet in2013 and scientists all this time were relatively calm about this. According to their calculations, the trajectory of the asteroid's motion does not intersect with our planet and collisions should not occur. But recently the Japanese telescope "Subaru" showed that the asteroid changed its trajectory. This discovery came as a big surprise to scientists. They believe that nothing bad will happen during the next asteroid approach in 2029. But another convergence is expected in 2068 - what will happen then?

There is a possibility that a large asteroid will fall on Earth in 2068

Discovery of the asteroid Apophis

Asteroid Apophis was discovered in 2004 by a groupscientists from the American state of Hawaii. They learned that the trajectory of this space object is very close to the Earth. This information turned out to be very exciting, so they decided to find out all possible changes in the trajectory of the asteroid. The fact is that the motion of space objects is strongly influenced by the attraction of other celestial bodies. Fortunately, there were no objects on the asteroid's path that could greatly affect its movement. But the researchers did not take into account that other phenomena could affect its trajectory.

The trajectory of the Apophis asteroid is shown in purple, and the planet Earth in blue.

The same Hawaiian scientists, led by an astronomerDave Tholen studied the asteroid Apophis with the 8.2-meter Subaru ground-based telescope. In the course of their work, they realized that the trajectory of the object could be affected by Yarkovsky effect... It lies in the fact that the sun's rays canto heat the surface of the asteroids and give the heated side an additional impulse. The heated side of the asteroids emits energy in the form of infrared waves, which act like a jet of a jet engine. According to scientists' calculations, the asteroid Apophis deviates from its course by about 170 meters annually. There is a possibility that the movement of a celestial body will change so much that it will eventually collide with the Earth.

See also: Artificial intelligence discovered 11 potentially dangerous asteroids for the Earth

The fall of an asteroid to Earth

But this will not happen soon. The closest approach of the asteroid to Earth is expected on April 13, 2029. It will fly at a distance of 29,470 kilometers from the surface of our planet. Artificial satellites of the Earth are located at the same distance. Scientists are confident that the asteroid will be visible to us with the naked eyebut the collision will definitely not happen. A potentially dangerous object will fly past us in 2036. But how everything will work out during the approach of the asteroid in 2068 is still unknown to anyone. Scientists are already looking for an answer to this question and the results of observations with telescopes are helping them in this.

The dimensions of the asteroid Apophis can be compared with the height of the 103-story skyscraper of the Empire State Building.

If the asteroid Apophis collides with the Earth, we're in trouble. After all, we are talking about an elongated cosmic object, the length of which is 450 meters and the width is 170 meters... The fall of such a large asteroid couldto wipe an entire country from the face of our planet, or even more. It all depends on the angle at which it falls. The greater the angle of incidence, the more serious damage will be done to the planet. It is hoped that everything will work out in the best possible way, and even if the risk is high, by then scientists will have developed a powerful device to destroy the asteroid. And who knows - maybe by 2068 we will already be living on Mars?

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According to researchers, similar to an asteroidApophis celestial bodies fall to the Earth every 80 thousand years. But they're certainly not nearly as dangerous as the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Scientists believe that the diameter of this asteroid was 180 kilometers and it left the largest crater on the surface of our planet. It is called Chicxulub and is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Central America. You can read about how a huge asteroid changed our planet in this article.