An asteroid dubbed ‘God of Chaos’ gains speed on its journey towards Earth and could hit our planet in 48 years, experts caution.
Astronomers at the University of Hawai’i ascertained the vast asteroid Apophis has advanced on its journey due to non-uniform radiation, which functions like a little thruster.
Before the discovery, the consequence was said to improbable, but the recent outcomes indicates the asteroid has a likelihood of hitting Earth on April 12, 2068 and it might be disastrous.
Apophis was located on June 19, 2004 by astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. And it has been tracked since then as it revolves around the sun, which it completes less than one Earth year.
The Researchers detected Aphophis with the Subaru telescope earlier this year and deduced it had increased its speed according to the analysis, known as the Yarkovsky effect.
When the asteroid’s body warms up in sunlight, it re-radiates the energy away as heat, which functions as small thrusters for the cosmic object.
Dave Tholen, one of the astronomers, 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.’
Apophis was also given the title of the third-highest threat on NASA’s Sentry Risk Table, says Gizmodo reports.
The table calculates that there is a one in 150,000 possibility that the asteroid would be hitting Earth in 48 years, but Tholen told Gizmodo that the odds are nearer to one in 530,000 – this figure accounts for the Yarkovsky effect.
The asteroid comprises of nickel and iron and radar images indicates that it is elongated with the two lobes, making it appear like something like a peanut.
Researchers report that there would be needs for more research to be carried out in order to completely discern the amplitude of the Yarkovksy effect and how it impacts the Apophis’ orbit are underway.
And they intend to ‘know well before 2068 if there is any chance of an impact.’
When Apophis was initially found out, experts said there was a 2.7 percent likelihood of an Earth collision in 2029, but now data indicates it will safely pass within 19,794 miles of Earth.
This is the most intimate approach by an asteroid of this size that scientists have discovered in advance.