Thought we should post/correct the true size that star-watchers will see of the Apophis asteroid 99942 (2004 MN) in 2029 as estimated by Space.com:
What to expect
The asteroid 2004 MN4 is expected to shine like a fast-moving star at magnitude 3.3, Chesley said. That would be easily visible under dark skies without the help of binoculars or telescopes.
On this astronomers’ magnitude scale, smaller numbers represent brighter objects. The brightest stars and planets have negative magnitudes. The dimmest stars visible under perfect sky conditions away from city lights are about magnitude 6.5. Urban residents may need to get out of town to see the rare event.
Chesley said the exact proximity of the object could cause its brightness to vary, but probably only by a few tenths of a magnitude.
The asteroid will pass through the constellation of Cancer. Observers with clear skies in Europe, Africa and parts of Asia will be able to see a star-like point of light.
“Whether you could see it from the center of London is another matter,” said Alan Harris of the Space Science Institute.
Harris notes that asteroid Vesta — 334 miles (538 kilometers) in diameter — periodically gets as bright as magnitude 5.3, which is visible to the naked eye under very dark sky conditions. “Curiously, Vesta attains this brightness at its opposition in July, 2029, only a few months after the April 2029 apparition of MN4,” Harris told SPACE.com.
With small telescopes and high-tech tracking software, the asteroid’s shape could be evident.
“It will be potentially resolvable with small telescopes, but they’ll have to be able to track pretty fast,” Chesley said.
The rock will cover about 42 degrees of sky per hour, slower than a satellite but noticeably quick in the small field of view of a telescope.
So, we correct our rather doomsday size of 10-12 times larger than the moon which we noted that Muriel of Muriel’s blog; has already posted.
AFP Berlin from 15th April 2008
According to the Agence France-Press GMBH (AFP), a 13 year old schoolboy from the Humboldt Gymnasium in Potsdam, Germany, corrected NASA’s 99942 Apophis asteroid figures on paper. The boy apparently made his discovery as part of a regional science competition for which he submitted a project entitled: “Apophis — The Killer Asteroid.”
Nico Marquardt re-calculated the asteroid’s estimates on the chances of it colliding with Earth after recognizing that NASA (the boffins) had miscalculated. The Potsdamer Neuester Nachrichten (PNN), a newspaper of Berlin, reported that the school boy used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth. Here is the PNN article ‘Apophis im Anflug’.
Nico Marquardt caused a sensation - in Berlin and Germany - he received regional award of “Young Scientists” and also won the competition in the field of physics.
In his calculations, the schoolboy took into consideration the risk of Apophis running into one or more of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth during its path close to the planet on April 13 2029.
Earth satellites are known to travel at 3.07 kilometres a second (1.9 miles), at up to 35,880 kilometres above earth — and the Apophis asteroid is expected to pass very close to earth in 2029 at a distance of 32,500 kilometres.
Niko estimated that if the asteroid were to strike a satellite on April 13 2029, this will change its trajectory making it hit earth on its next orbit in 2036 - also on April 13 of that year.
NASA estimated the chances of an impact in 2036 at 1 in 45,000 but is reported to have told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that Marquardt had got it right.
Both NASA and Niko Marquardt were reported to have agreed that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.
The estimated shockwaves from this type of asteroid is expected to create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely.
Here are some more details on 99942 Apophis and what the world can expect to see in the skies above us:
According to the PNN report, Nico Marquardt believes that Friday, 13 April 2029 by 22:45 Central European Time would be perhaps the “most exciting moment in human history”.
This ’space potato’ as it is known in German, composed of iron and iridium, will pass within 32 500 kilometres of the Earth and would appear ten to twelve times larger than the moon. Nico Marquardt wants to study astrophysics and to eventually work for NASA.
According to persons commenting on the PNN report, one suggested to Nico that he need not work for NASA but should work for Germany, and one commentator reminded all on the forum that one need not worry about 99942 Apophis, if the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) being built at CERN in Geneva Switzerland to be conducted later this year go awry.
‘Little black holes’ are expected to be produced as a result of experiments at CERN and there are people out there who do not trust the scientists belief that, as per Hawkin’s theory, these little black holes will snuff themselves out naturally. The commentator believed that if the Hawkin’s theory did not kick in and the little black holes do not disappear but grow in size, then there’s no need to worry about future asteroids, because ‘we’d be all dead anyway’; snuffed out by a black hole that will devour earth.
As an aside to this report, NASA has now made an official statement, most links have been pulled from English websites; however, since NASA sees everything as having an impact only on the US (when tsunamis are referred to, reference is only made to US coastlines etc. etc. - so what of the rest of the world? They apparently don’t exist or were always invisible), can never admit to its mistakes and most likely has adopted an attitude that to let the people know the real facts is detrimental, this site does not yet place Nico Marquardt in disrepute. This is also made painfully evident by NASA’s statements that a deflection strategy will only be undertaken if the chances of an earth impact by 99942 Apophis is below 1 in 20. This makes it disturbingly obvious how expendable human beings and life on this planet are to these so-called scientists.
Some of the comments we’ve read so far are:
The Die Hard said… I haven’t checked the calculations myself, but I automatically distrust anything that comes out of NASA. There are no scientists or engineers left there, only politically-motivated “gimme my tax cut and high three” decrepit managers and their suck-up yes-boys. Most of us left in disgust after the Columbia debacle and their continuing cover up. After thirty years of pursuing The Dream, it wouldn’t break my heart if the whole agency was just disbanded. Anyone who claims that they “could do so much better outside of government” is welcome to go try. Remember how the various NASA centers were so busy with political infighting that they forgot to convert units on the crashed Mars probe? Don’t tell me they don’t screw up. You think they’d ADMIT to a mistake like misplacing a decimal point?
And that, dear readers, is why it is so damned important to stop electing the George Bushes of the world to positions of anything approaching power. And why it’s so damned important to keep our science classes free of Creationism and Intelligent Design and any other philosophies requiring a willing suspension of disbelief in favor of My Invisible Friend, be He Jehovah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Because once you subjugate science to religion, you’ll end up fighting for the survival of the species with a National Day of Prayer, asking Him to deflect the asteroid with His Noodly Appendage.
Or do you think that it’s more than just a coincidence that both NASA and Nico calculate that Apophis will arrive on EASTER SUNDAY in 2036?
Nico’s science fair project, entitled “Apophis - the Killer Asteroid,” was completed using telescopic data from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam. It’s doubtful that the German competition committee would have accepted a project titled “How the Unicorn was Naturally Selected Off of Noah’s Ark,” but some school districts in Florida and Kansas may. Marquardt’s correction of NASA’s data is based on the possibility of Apophis colliding with man-made satellites during a VERY close pass, 18,000 miles or so, on an unlucky Friday the 13th of April, 2029.
Another coincidence? Ben Stein would have you believe that it was design.
Things may not be as dire as Nico is predicting. NASA’s figures appear to have already discounted the satellites, as this report indicates that the asteroid’s course actually takes it INSIDE the belt of geo-stationary satellites. That means that it will take not 9, but 16 straight coin-flips coming up heads for this one to smack us.
NASA’s statement on the Probability of Impact with a Satellite:
NASA (http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/apophis) - 2008-Apr-16: In response to inquiries, accidental impact with an artifical satellite in 2029 is vanishingly unlikely. As mentioned above, (1) Apophis does not pass near the zones where most satellites are located and (2) man-made satellites and Apophis both have small cross-sectional areas. Even if a high-velocity impact occurred, at most a large satellite could change Apophis’ position 7 years later (in 2036) by only 100’s of km. This is less than 1/10th the size of the smaller issues considered in the study, very much in the noise of the calculations, and can have no meaningful effect on Earth impact probability estimation (which already incorporates more than 30 million km of uncertainty). At such a late date, impact with an artificial satellite would be like a bug on the windshield of Apophis. Deflection efforts are dependent on being early enough to leverage the dynamics of the 2029 encounter. Events during the encounter lack such leverage.
Uh …. let’s give a Jon Stewart here:
Uhhh. *knitted brows of disbelief together with wry amazed smile* - did NASA actually realise what they were saying when they said that an “impact with an artificial satellite would be like a bug on the windshield of Apophis.”????? C’Mon give us a break! Are they saying that the thing - this asteroid is about the size of our damn f%%#@*! earth??? Thanks NASA! Thanks for confirming that the darned thing would appear 12x times larger than the moon in 2029 - Not only have you unwittingly made Apophis look BIG, you’ve actually exaggerated its known size and unwittingly again, put fear in all of us! God help us all! Can we believe NASA??! Really??
You know what really bothers me? The fact that by 2036, maybe even by 2029, NASA and all their cronies will be up there in a space rocket watching the rest of us fry. Too bad for all those who aren’t billionaires by then!
Latest news on the ‘99942 Apophis’ Asteroid that was predicted to be on a near collision or ’swipe’ course with earth is back on track. The 99942 Apophis’s asteroid’s threat has not disappeared but seems to have newly emerged in the most recent NASA reports in this year - even a competition was held to design an unmanned space probe to ’shadow’ 99942 Apophis in order to figure out just what Apophis might do or is ‘thinking’ to do.
99942 Apophis, having been relegated to a 0 in 10 on the Torino scale threat with a 1 in 45,000 chance of impact on earth, is still held to be the same:
On April 16, 2008, NASA News Release 08-103 reaffirmed that its estimation of a 1 in 45,000 chance of impact in 2036 remains valid.
Note that no mention was made on whether or not the Torino scale was increased or remains the same as well.
As part of an effort to develop viable deflection strategies, the B612 Foundation made estimates of Apophis path if a 2036 Earth impact were to occur.
The impact result is a narrow corridor called the ‘path of risk’ which would be a few miles wide. Countries estimated to be in the direct path:
See 99942’s Apophis’ path of risk here (click the image to enlarge):
Using a computer simulation tool called NEOSim, it was estimated that the hypothetical impact of Apophis in the countries that are listed above and which are in the path of risk, would have more than 10 million casualties.
An impact several thousand miles off the West Coast of the US would also produce a devastating tsunami.
So, we ask ourselves, what is earth doing about this - especially since we all pay taxes to our governments who are supposed to protect us?
Earlier this year in 2008, the Planetary Society organized a $50,000 competition to design an unmanned space probe that would ’shadow’ Apophis for almost a year, taking measurements that would “determine whether it will impact Earth, thus helping governments decide whether to mount a deflection mission to alter its orbit.” The society received 37 entries from 20 countries on 6 continents.
The commercial competition was won by a design called ‘Foresight’ created by SpaceWorks Engineering. The craft is planned to be launched in 4 years from now - namely, in 2012.
The winning design, Foresight, proposes a simple orbiter with only two instruments and a radio beacon at a cost of $137.2 million to keep mission costs on the low side. The spacecraft would launch aboard a Minotaur IV, leaving Earth sometime between 2012 and 2014. It would take Foresight five to ten months to arrive at 99942 Apophis. Foresight would then rendezvous with, observe, and track Apophis and would orbit the asteroid to gather data with a multi-spectral imager for a period of one month.
Foresight would then leave orbit and fly in formation with Apophis around the Sun at a range of two kilometers (1.2 miles). The spacecraft would use laser ranging to the asteroid and radio tracking from Earth for ten months to accurately determine the asteroid’s orbit and how it might change.
In addition to the unmanned Planetary Society project, NASA’s Project Constellation is researching a manned Orion Asteroid Mission, with 99942 Apophis being one of the potential destinations of the mission. The mission would use the Orion spacecraft to land astronauts on the surface of the asteroid that is intended to provide valuable testing for a later manned Orion Mars Mission.
Well, inhabitants of the above listed countries, may now be asking “What the f*&^)$?’ else???!!” Apart from assuring that your governments are thinking of you in less than 28 years (exactly 27 years, 10 months, 2 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and some split seconds) from now, it might be nice to consider taking a trip away from the area and making plans in case you cannot ever return, here are some other initiatives:
Did we hear anyone complain about the impact probability being less than 20%? I had no idea we human beings were so expendable. I suppose NASA might be thinking that the world could do without a few million people by 2037!
In 2029, 99942 will actually pass much closer to earth than it was first predicted; however, an impact is ruled out. This close approach to earth in 2029 will substantially alter the asteroid’s orbit, and more data would be needed to ascertain its new orbit and new impact risk the 2nd time it comes around in 2036/2037.
In July 2005, former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, as chairman of the B612 Foundation, formally asked NASA to investigate the possibility that the asteroid’s post-2029 orbit could be in orbital resonance with Earth, which would increase the probability of future impacts. Schweickart asked for an investigation of the necessity of placing a transponder on the asteroid for more accurate tracking of how its orbit is affected by the Yarkovsky effect.
The Yarkovsky effect is a force acting on a rotating body in space caused by the anisotropic emission of thermal photons, which carry momentum. It is usually considered in relation to meteoroids or small asteroids (about 10 cm to 10 km in diameter), as its influence is most significant for these bodies.
Previous related posts:
Philip Van Praag, an audio expert who co-wrote a new book titled ‘An Open and Shut Case‘ with a fellow investigator, a former American Academy of Forensic Scientists (AAFS) President Robert Joling about the Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, are convinced more than one gunman was involved in the shooting of Kennedy. Right after winning the California primary, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot early on the morning of June 5, 1968. He died less than 26 hours later, at age 42.
Scientists Van Praag and Joling have extensively analyzed the only known audio tape recording, known as the Pruszynski recording, of the shooting of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, on the fateful day - exactly 40 years ago as of yesterday.
Their findings concluded that no less than fourteen shots were fired in the Ambassador Hotel Los Angeles kitchen pantry, where Senator Kennedy and five others were wounded. Sirhan Sirhan’s .22-caliber revolver had a capacity for only eight bullets. In addition, other findings of the scientists also point to a second gunman firing at Kennedy.
Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of firing his gun from a few feet in front of Kennedy; however, the coroner reported that the fatal shot was fired less than 1 inch from behind Kennedy’s right ear and that of the four shots fired at Kennedy, all came from the rear. This fact was not raised at Sirhan’s trial because his defense was based on the theory that he suffered from “diminished capacity” rather than on any challenge of prosecutors’ evidence.
The inconsistencies in the case have bred numerous conspiracy theories, including the involvement of the CIA and the idea that Sirhan - who claims not to remember the shooting and pleaded insanity at his trial - was a “Manchurian Candidate” assassin who was hypnotically programmed to kill the senator.
The famed audio tape was played live following the authors’ New Haven presentation, on Tuesday, March 25th 2008 at a one and a half hour presentation at which the media were invited for a press conference after the presentation. A presentation was also held on February 21st 2008 which was reported by BBC’s Forensic Sciences division.
Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of RFK’s murder 40 years ago, but skeptics such as Van Praag and Joling are convinced that there was more than one gunman. Sirhan Sirhan is living out the rest of his days in the California state prison at Corcoran. Now 64, he has never fully explained what happened that night other than to say he can’t remember it.
Though Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of acting out the crime alone - questions still remain about RFK’s assassination. Though Los Angeles police found his diary, in which he had written, “RFK must die.”, investigators had concluded he was angry about Kennedy’s support for Israel and had tied the assassination date to the one-year anniversary of the Six-Day War.
Last month Van Praag and Joling submitted their Pruszynski recording findings before the AAFS in Washington D.C. - the AAFS is due to release the paper later in this year. For more info:
This You Tube link is the Discovery Channel’s documentary on Joling and Van Praag’s findings: