Just Your Average ‘Doomsday Asteroid’ Whizzing by Earth Tonight, No Big Deal

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doomsday asteroidHey guys. Just a heads up that a doomsday asteroid that's over 1,000 feet wide is going to whiz by Earth tonight. No big deal, really, unless you're, like, I don't know, worried, or whatever, that this Apophis asteroid, as it's called, was once estimated to have a 2.7 percent chance of colliding with our planet and forever changing life as we know it. But if things like that don't, like, alarm you, then yeah, tonight's big event in space is totally NBD.

Apophis was first discovered in 2004, and since then, scientists have been keeping an eye on this bitch. She's not only huge, she's a close-talker. Apophis may be around 9.3 million miles from Earth tonight, but researchers think she'll come dangerously and perhaps catastrophically close to our home in 2029 and again in 2036.

While there's still time, check out the webcast of the Slooh space telescope or the Virtual Telescope Project tonight to view live streaming from the Canary Islands and Italy as Apophis moves like a bright light across our sky.

Be sure to say your "see you later"s to Apophis as you watch, but not your "goodbye"s. She'll be back before you know it. In 2029, it's possible she could pass through a gravitational keyhole, which would bounce her out of orbit and send her on an imminent collision course with Earth when she's back again in 2036.

Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis aren't stepping up to the asteroid-destroying plate here, but thankfully, the Russians are. They've got a plan to place a beacon on Apophis in 2020 to keep track of her ass.

Anyway, if, uh, tonight the calculations are off by about 9.3 million miles, um, it's been nice knowing you.

Think you'll watch Apophis tonight?

 

Photo via lwpkommunikacio/Flickr

astronomy