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:
The asteroid’s name is 99942 Apophis - Apophis being the name for an evil spirit of destruction in Egyptian myth and an appropriate name for this Near Earth Object (NEO) discovered in 2004 by Roy A. Tucker, David J. Tholen, and Fabrizio Bernardi of the NASA-funded University of Hawaii Asteroid Survey from Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. The asteroid was initially named ‘2004 MN4′. Scientists at the time insisted that there was very little time left to prepare a defense strategy for a possible collision. Technology to deflect the asteroid, they said, would take decades to design, test and build.
NASA had estimated that an impact from Apophis, which has an outside chance of hitting the Earth in 2036, would have released more than 100,000 times the energy released in the nuclear blast over Hiroshima. Thousands of square kilometers would be directly affected by the blast but the whole of the Earth would see the effects of the dust released into the atmosphere.
As Monica Grady, an expert in meteorites at the Open University, said:
“It’s a question of when, not if, a near Earth object collides with Earth. Many of the smaller objects break up when they reach the Earth’s atmosphere and have no impact. However, a NEO larger than 1km [wide] will collide with Earth every few hundred thousand years and a NEO larger than 6km, which could cause mass extinction, will collide with Earth every hundred million years. We are overdue for a big one.”
Apophis had been intermittently tracked since its discovery in June 2004 but in December 2005, it began to cause serious concern As of this time, the chances of Apophis hitting Earth has been reduced to 1 in 12.3 million.
In projecting the likely orbit of the Apophis into the future, astronomers calculated that the odds of it hitting the Earth in 2029 were alarming and the odds got higher as more observations were received. At the peak of the scientists’ concern, Apophis asteroid was placed at 4 out of 10 on the Torino scale - a measure of the threat posed by an NEO where 10 is a certain collision which could cause a global catastrophe. This was the highest of any asteroid in recorded history and it had a 1 in 37 chance of hitting the Earth. The threat of a collision in 2029 was eventually ruled out at the end of 2004 and the collision date extended to approximately 2036. The Torino scale threat has also been lowered to 0 out of 10.
Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer from Queen’s University Belfast, has stated that the asteroid should pass close to earth on April 13th 2029 and when it does:
the Earth will deflect it and change its orbit. There’s a small possibility that if it passes through a particular point in space, the so-called keyhole, … the Earth’s gravity will change things so that when it comes back around again in 2036, it will collide with us.”
The chance of Apophis passing through the keyhole, a 600-metre patch of space, was 1 in 5,500 based on information in 2005 but as of the most recent information, it is now 1 in 45,000.
The Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency have led the effort in designing a range of satellites and rockets to nudge asteroids on a collision course to Earth into a different orbit. Even nuclear powered spacecraft are being considered but the negative aspect of nuclear powered is that it has not yet been put to the test as is the case with solar electric propulsion, for which there are already several spacecraft that do use the latter technology.
The European Space Agency (ESA) favoured method is also one of the easiest methods - to throw a spacecraft at an asteroid to change its direction. ESA plans to test the idea with its Don Quixote mission, where two satellites will be sent to an asteroid. One of the spacecraft, Hidalgo, will collide with the asteroid at high speed while the other, Sancho, will measure the change in the object’s orbit. Decisions on the actual design of these probes were to be made in 2006, with an expected launch to take place sometime between 2007 and 2017 launch expected some time in the next decade. Astronomers are not considering the use of explosives as an option due to the fact of potential spread of damage by the collision of many fragments.
In September 2005, scientists at Strathclyde and Glasgow universities began computer simulations to work out the feasibility of changing the directions of asteroids on a collision course for Earth.
Possible Effects of Impact
NASA initially estimated the energy that Apophis would have released if it struck Earth as the equivalent of 1480 megatons of TNT but later refined this to 880 megatons. The impacts which created the Barringer Crater of the Tunguska event are estimated to be in the 10-20 megaton range and the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa was the equivalent of roughly 200 megatons.
The exact effects of any impact of an asteroid varies according to the asteroid’s composition, and its the location and angle of impact. Any impact is aid to be extremely detrimental to an area of thousands of square kilometres, but information says that any impact would probably not cause long-lasting global effects, such as the initiation of an impact winter as many fear.
Undergraduate student of West Virginia University, David Narkevik, was re-analysing data from the Parkes Radio telescope in Australia when he came across a five-millisecond burst of energy so powerful that it “saturated” the equipment.
Initially dismissed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) as man-made radio interference because the burst was so startlingly strong and bright, the explosion put out a huge amount of power (10exp33 Joules), equivalent to a large (2000MW) power station running for two billion billion years and appears to have originated at least one-and-a-half billion light-years (500 Mpc) away.
Professor Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University in Melbourne stated:
“Normally the kind of cosmic activity we’re looking for at this distance would be very faint but this was so bright that it saturated the equipment,”
Scientists having another look at the data are now convinced that the burst was in fact real and emanated from far enough away that any ordinary energy surge should have been very faint.
It is thought that the recording illustrated a catastrophic event such as two neutron stars colliding, or the final evaporation of a black hole. NASA astrophysicist Valerie Connaughton of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, isn’t sure that either of the two hypothesis will hold up, because no radio burst has ever been associated with either phenomenon to date. If this one can be linked, however, it would be a “huge deal,” she says.
With this astonishing find, researchers are now going back to review other archived data from the Parkes telescope, looking for other such anomalies. They also pointed to the construction of a new radio telescope in Australia by 2012 as a potential tool to find other such events.
The discovery of the radio burst is similar to the discovery of gamma-ray bursts in the 1970s, when military satellites revealed flashes of gamma-rays appearing all over the sky. One kind—the so-called long-period bursts—was eventually identified as the explosion (supernova) of a massive star with the associated formation of a black hole, hence the assumption of this new burst’s origin; however, no radio burst was associated with that supernova.
Radio astronomer Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis says that whatever caused the signal,
“it’s bound to be exciting. [The source] is almost certainly a very high-energy phenomenon, [that is bound to] push us into exciting new realms of physics.”
A paper on the research has been published on the Science Express site.
WASHINGTON - Top White House officials announced that a previously unknown planet discovered on the outer rim of our solar system would henceforth be known as “Little Arbusto,” and that calling the planet “Sedna” or any other name would be unlawful.
“We’re not sure how to handle this situation,” Said Ted Whitinski, NASA project manager. “We had come up with some befitting scientific names for the tenth planet, but a threatening fax from Dick Cheney has made us think twice about going public with them.”
Whitinski went on to detail the fax, allegedly sent by Vice President Cheney on August 2.
“It stated that ‘the very sun, moon and stars’ exist to amuse George W. Bush, and that if we tried to name the planet anything ‘Science-esque,’ we would be shipped in gorilla crates to Guantanamo Bay, where our scrotal skin would be stripped off with a belt sander.” The fax reportedly went on to detail how scientists’ families would be interned in 1940s-style camps, and how their gold teeth would be seized and melted down into charms for Cheney and his friends to wear on special occasions.
In a highly unusual move, the Bush Administration invoked the article of Planetary Conquest, which was passed by congress, buried deep in the pages of the Patriot Act.
“This article gives us the right to name and exploit the resources of any planet, discovered or otherwise, in this galaxy or any other, for ever and ever amen,” said Bush during a recent question and answer session.
Richard Garriott, a game developer known for creating the multiplayer online game Ultima, will be the sixth private citizen to take a ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station in October 2008. And in a way, he will follow in his father’s footsteps, but without the NASA credentials. Garriott’s dad is former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, who flew to the first U.S. space station Skylab in the ’70s.
Garriott will fly with Vienna, Va.-based Space Adventures, a space tourism company that offers flights to ISS for between $25 million and $30 million. But because of a weakened dollar, the cost of the trips will go as high as $40 million in 2009.
Richard Allen Garriott (born July 4, 1961), also known as Lord British in Ultima Online and General British in Tabula Rasa, is a significant figure in the video game industry. He was originally a game designer and programmer, but now engages in various aspects of computer game development. Richard is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
The European Space comet-chaser probe, Rosetta, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) based in Darmstadt Germany, has made a successful and very mission-crucial fly-by of the planet Mars, prompting applause and feelings of relief amongst the ESA officials.
Rosetta made a close flyby of Mars on Sunday, a crucial maneuver in its slow 10-year voyage through the solar system to make the first soft landing on a comet. The flyby maneuver, which used the planet’s gravity to change course and required that Rosetta shut off many of the spacecraft’s instruments in order to put its batteries into use during its passing on the shadow side of the Red Planet, was observed with anticipated breath.
During the maneuver, Rosetta comet probe’s radio signal fell silent for 15 minutes as the craft passed behind the Red Planet, lost radio signals and solar power and geared into her batteries whilst shutting down all equipment. As she flew from the shadow into a Martian sunrise at 3:40 a.m. Sunday and regained solar power and a radio signal, applause broke out in the European Space Agency. According to Manfred Warhaut, head of mission operations: “Rosetta is on its way”. Rosetta came as close as 155 miles to Mars surface during the applauded maneuver.
The successful flyby “is fundamental to the mission,” said spacecraft operations manager Andrea Accomazzo. “If we don’t do this, we don’t have a mission.”
Rosetta is scheduled to orbit the comet 67/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014 as it hurtles around the sun and to release a small but very complex lander that will make the first touchdown on the comet. The lander will seek to drill into the surface and radio back an analysis of the comet’s surface and nucleus makeup. The lander is a sort of miniature chemical laboratory packed with sophisticated instruments. The Rosetta probe will then chase the comet for one year and observe its nucleus as it continues on its trip towards the inner Solar System at a speed of 135,000 km per hour.The 3-mile long comet, an irregular chunk of ice, frozen gases and dust, is named for its discoverers, Soviet astronomers Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko.
Rosetta’s Mars Maneuver is the second of four so-called ‘gravitational assisted manoeuvres’ that the craft will complete before reaching its ambitious target in 2014.
The one-week delayed £600 million mission to land a spacecraft on a comet finally took off safely at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana two years ago in March 2004. The Rosetta probe and comet-chaser, was mostly built by EADS Astrium in Stevenage and her epic voyage was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket.