Apophis - the asteroid

13 Mar 2011

At www.physorg.com/print219060207.html we learn that astronomers are keeping tabs on asteroid Apophis as it approaches a close encounter with the earth in 2029. The position of the asteroid over the next few months will enable astronomers to study it more closely - before its orbit takes it back into the Sun's glare. That makes observation virtually impossible. However, in 2012 Apophis will again become observable, this time for some 9 months, and in 2013 it will pass close enough to the earth to allow very precise radar  to be bounced from its surface. This will clarify its orbital parameters, it is hoped, and provide information about its surface and its innards. In 2029 however, Apophis will come extremely close, within the distance of communications satellites that humans have placed upstairs - and that is very close indeed (namely, within 22,000 miles). Interesting times are expected.