Watching the rocks fly by

So, does anyone remember Apophis? You know, the asteroid named after an Ancient Egyptian mythological demon which is around half a kilometre in diameter and has an ever so small chance of raining fiery doom upon us all in the year 2036 (man, it sounds so metal to talk about it that way). Well, it just passed by the Earth yesterday. I thought you might like to know.


Apophis isn’t really all that scary. Sure, if it did hit Earth we probably wouldn’t have a good time, but the chances of that happening are really quite low. For a while, some people were keeping quite a watchful eye on it, admittedly, briefly ranking it as record breaking level 4 on the Torino impact hazard scale. Though it has to be said, even then 4 out of 10 isn’t very high. It was dropped to a level 1 for a while, until 2006 when it was calculated that the chances of it actually colliding with us was almost negligible. Mind you, there is another one which we are currently aware of…

For now, Apophis is just going to keep on wandering around the Sun the same way it always has. Mind you, it’s not every day you get a text message* informing you that a famous asteroid just sailed past your planet…

No, this isn't Apophis. I'm not sure if anyone's even imaged it. This is 253 Mathilde, an asteroid which I might have an amusing anecdote about...

* Yes, I genuinely am geeky enough to want text messages about near Earth asteroids.

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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3 Responses to Watching the rocks fly by

  1. Baribal says:

    Yes, I remembered Apophis!

  2. trkendall says:

    Apophis passes within 30000 km in 2029 according to Sky & Telescope today – I didn’t know that!

    • invaderxan says:

      I believe that’s the close pass which, so some worried, might set it up for a future collision. Though I’ll admit, I didn’t realise it would be quite that close. Given that’s less than 10% the distance to the Moon, that is a little disconcerting to think about!

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