Astronomers have confirmed that the giant asteroid Apophis will not hit the Earth.

Astronomers have confirmed that the giant asteroid Apophis will not hit the Earth.

Radar images of Apophis during its flyby in 2021.

A few years ago, astronomers ruled out the possibility that a potentially dangerous asteroid called Apophis would change direction and crash into the Earth while passing by. However, there are many space rocks floating in interplanetary space. What if one of them runs into Apophis? What if he knocks Apophis off his current course? What if the new trajectory turns out to be headed for a collision with Earth?

Astronomers Paul Wiegert of Western University and Ben Hyatt of the University of Waterloo in Canada have predicted the orbits of more than 1.3 million known asteroids in the inner solar system and come to the reassuring conclusion that no asteroid will collide with Apophis anytime soon. The pair’s research has been accepted for publication in the Planetary Science Journal and is available on the arXiv preprints server.

“Given how close Apophis will be to Earth, there is a risk that a deviation from its current trajectory could bring Apophis closer to a collision with us,” Hyatt says. no matter how unlikely it is.”

Apophis was discovered in 2004 and was immediately assessed as a potential threat. Early projections put the chance of it crashing into Earth during the 2029 flyby at 2.7 percent.

So Wiegert and Hyatt began modeling. Judging by the available data, there is no risk of a collision. Apophis may fly past another asteroid called Xanthus in December 2026 at a distance of 10,000 kilometers; they won’t collide, but it’s possible that the invisible debris that accompanies Xanthus, if it exists, could hit Apophis. But the risk of this, according to the simulations, is negligibly small.

“We calculated the trajectories of all known asteroids using detailed computer simulations of our solar system and assessed the possibility of such an unlikely event,” says Wiegert. “Fortunately, such clashes are not foreseen.”

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