If you haven’t had enough of Doomsday predictions already, then here’s more. A 900-foot-wide asteroid, named Apophis, is expected to pass overhead today (January 9, 2013).
Scientists expect some close encounters of asteroid Apophis with Earth later in 2029 and 2036, though they have ruled out any cataclysmic collision yet. However, if that tiny chance were to exist, then according to Nasa calculations, the collision could generate a blast equivalent to more than 500 megatons of TNT.
In comparison, the most powerful hydrogen bomb ever detonated, the Soviet Tsar Bomba, released 57 megatons.
Scientists will closely study today’s passage to estimate just how dangerous the space rock really is and to refine its trajectory for future close passes.
The asteroid named after an Egyptain demon will not get closer than around nine million miles tomorrow, according to a Daily Mail report.
The big rock will get closet to Earth at midnight UK time (4am UAE time, Thursday, January 10).
When the asteroid was discovered in 2004 scientists calculated a one-in-45 chance of an impact in 2029.
Among all the near-Earth asteroids that have passed us, Apophis has generated the most concern because of its possible close approach.
Those interested at watching the face of destruction can view the passage online via the Slooh web-based sky-watching service, reported news.com.au.
Apophis is a near-Earth asteroid that was discovered in 2004. Then it was predicted that the asteroid would collide with the planet in 2029.
However the concerns were soon dismissed after improved predictions.