The Return of Asteroid Apophis


We can all breathe a sigh of relief over the possibility of the asteroid Apophis colliding with the Earth in 2036: new calculations have lowered the probability of the 1-in-45,000 chance of impact to that of 1-in-250,000.  However, the adjustments to the calculations show that Apophis will come close to the Earth again in 2068 with a 1-in-400,000 chance of impact. 

Astronomers had to adjust their calculations due to previous inaccurate star positions, which they use to gauge the position of objects in space. The new findings are to be presented Thursday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. 

This so called "poster child" for near-Earth objects keeps its rank as the fourth most likely asteroid to collide with Earth, despite the adjustments to the calculations. The universe covers a lot of "space" and with increasing updates to adjustments in calculations and star positioning, surveys will continue to be updated as we expand our knowledge about what is actually out there. 

For now we can all take solace in the lowered likelihood of an impact, and focus our energy on our plights at home as we keep one eye to the sky. 

 

Asteroid Image Courtesy of Nasa