Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/19/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

May be visible to naked eye 2029, may hit Earth 2036.

Lately it seems like the sky is falling. Comets and asteroids are cross-crossing the heavens above as meteors crash down on Earth. Last week there were two major events as meteors came down over central Russia and northern California. Scientists now say that a potential doomsday asteroid will soon pass near Earth, close enough to be visible to the naked eye.

It will happen someday, but will we be ready?

It will happen someday, but will we be ready?

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/19/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Apophis, Earth, impact, effect, danger, orbit, close, mass


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Asteroid 99942 Apophis, or just Apophis for short, is on a course that will bring it perilously close to Earth in 2029. There is no question the shave will be close, almost as close as the one we received last week from Asteroid 2012 DA14. The pass will be so close, and Apophis so large, that an astute observer could potentially spot it from the ground without a telescope.

Apophis however, is a genuine killer. Unlike 2012 DA14, which had it hit would have likely vaporized in the atmosphere, Apophis is large enough to survive reentry and strike the surface with enough force to cause a massive tsunami should it land in the ocean, or tens of millions of deaths should it strike a populated area.

The impact would have the equivalent energy of about 510 megatons of TNT. That's much more than the largest atomic bomb ever detonated (Tsar Bomba at 50 megatons) and easily more than the Tunguska and Barringer impacts, between the 3-10 megaton range. In short, a collision with Apophis would devastate a large region of the planet.

However, it would still be far smaller than the Chicxulub event, which wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists have thankfully ruled out any likelihood of an extinction-level event from Apophis.

Still, the asteroid is massive. Apophis is passing close to Earth right now, and researchers have discovered that it's 20 percent larger than previous estimates. The size of the asteroid has been revised upwards to 325 square meters.

They have also been revising their predictions regarding its orbit.

In 2029, Apophis will pass close enough to Earth to be easily visible to observers on the ground. It may even be visible to the naked eye as a point of light moving steadily across the background of stars over several minutes.

Then, in 2036, it may yet have a greater chance of impacting Earth. Although the odds remain miniscule, they are great enough that scientists have already predicted where it is most likely to land.

If Apophis hits in 2036, it could strike along a path that actually starts quite near the Urals where a meteor famously struck last week. That path then continues across Siberia and into the Pacific near Hawai'i. The danger zone crosses Central America in Nicaragua, and brushes the northern coasts of Colombia and Venezuela. The danger zone ends just off the western coast of Africa.

Odds are, the impact will strike the ocean, creating a devastating tsunami that could kill millions.

Fortunately, the odds are strong that it will miss in 2036.

But what about beyond that? Scientists aren't so sure. Apophis has probably been in its dangerous orbit near Earth for thousands, perhaps millions of years. Or, it could be a new arrival, its current, dangerous orbit only decades old. That much is impossible to tell. Regardless, sooner or later, it seems Earth will have a date with Apophis.

When that happens, we can only hope that scientists and governments around the world have a plan in place to protect us, and the ability to use it. Meanwhile, the rest of us will watch and wait, albeit a bit nervously.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Technology

Earth struck by powerful asteroids at least twice a year Watch

Image of Data from monitoring stations which were originally designed to enforce a nuclear test ban treaty has discovered that the Earth is enduring far more dangerous asteroid impacts than previously thought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Earth was hit by 26 asteroids between the years of 2000 and 2013. The asteroids exploded with a force of between one and 600 kilotons. This phenomenon occurred on average once every six months. More alarmingly, these bodies weren't detected in space and ... continue reading


Upstart Aereo service could change the way world watches TV. Supreme Court will now decide. Watch

Image of Based in Brooklyn, Aereo lets

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Aereo, a tiny, TV streaming service that lets users get their favorite programs through rented antennas is accused of violating broadcasters' copyrights. The Supreme Court appears hesitant in deciding the ABC vs. Aereo lawsuit. The decision could very well ... continue reading


New plan by FDA will help critically sick get early access to care Watch

Image of The FDA's new program aims to get test products into the hands of patients who have no other treatment options.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a new program aimed at speeding up approvals for medical devices for patients who have no other treatment options available, on April 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Called the Expedited Access Premarket ... continue reading


Miracle substance grown in common household blender Watch

Image of Graphene's incredibly strength and flexibility make the material highly useful in manufacturing electronics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A team of scientists from Ireland and the UK may have just discovered a quick new way to mass produce the wonder material grapheme. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Published in the journal Nature Materials, the team outlines how they managed to produce a quantity ... continue reading


STEM CELL BREAKTHROUGH? Have researchers achieved 'therapeutic cloning' of adults? Watch

Image of The ultimate goal must always respect the dignity of every human life

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time, researchers claim to have achieved "therapeutic cloning" of adults, which involves producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor. It marks the first step in what is called reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate ... continue reading


DEATH FROM SKIES: Asteroids have missed major cities by sheer luck, scientists say Watch

Image of One asteroid, believed to have hit Earth 3.26 billion years ago, was 36 miles wide, which scientists said was six times bigger than the blast which wiped out dinosaurs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Barring an incident in Russia last year, asteroids striking the Earth have had very little impact on human life so far that large-scale asteroids have struck Earth three to ten times more often over the past decade than previously thought. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


A NEW EARTH? Astronomers discover remarkably similar planet to our own Watch

Image of The Goldilocks zone, or habitable zone, is the belt around a star where temperatures are ideal for liquid water to pool on a planet's surface.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Astronomers have announced that they have found a planet that is remarkably similar to Earth. Called Kepler-186f, the planet 1.1 times the size of Earth orbiting a star - "only" 490 light years away. Kepler-186f is the first planet discovered with the right ... continue reading


EYES TO THE HEAVENS: Astronomers say there may be a 'new Saturn moon' Watch

Image of The disturbance in the edge of the ring is 20 percent brighter than its surroundings and about 750 miles long and six miles wide.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All eyes are on the heavens as astronomers theorize that another moon for the ringed planet of Saturn may be on its way. If the heavenly body in the rings of Saturn is confirmed, it would make for the planet's 63rd moon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


IS THE SECOND COMING NIGH? Four blood moons this year all occur on Jewish holidays Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As climate change wreaks havoc worldwide, and relations between the U.S. and Russia reach a low point over Ukraine, some Christians say that the phenomenon of the "Blood moon" may mean that Christ's return is rapidly approaching. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Will Alibaba devour Facebook? China's massive Alibaba is coming to conquer the United States Watch

Image of Yahoo's dominance has since dwindled as Alibaba has since grown into a global powerhouse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ali Baba for those in the west usually means the storybook leader of a gang of fearless, 40 thieves. But this will soon change. A massive e-commerce site from China, Alibaba, with revenue larger than Amazon and eBay combined has decided to go public in the ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter