'God of Chaos' Asteroid Bigger Than the Eiffel Tower Will Pass Unnervingly Close To Earth in 2029, And You’ll Be Able To See It Without A Telescope

Scientists have already begun preparations for an asteroid flyby a decade away. Asteroid Apophis, named for the serpentine Egyptian god of chaos (also known as Apep), will whizz past Earth on April 13, 2029 at a distance of just 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) from the surface. That’s as close as some of the satellites currently orbiting our planet, NASA notes.

While researchers have all but ruled out the possibility of the 1,115-foot (340-meter) object slamming into Earth, the close shave will present a unique opportunity to study an asteroid in detail; most others that come this close are much smaller.
‘The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science,’ said Marina Brozović, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who works on radar observations of near-Earth objects (NEOs). ‘We’ll observe the asteroids with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few meters in size.’

It’s expected to make its closest approach just before 6 p.m. EDT, when it will be over the Atlantic Ocean. According to NASA, however, it will be visible in the sky hours before this point. Apophis will first appear in the night sky over the southern hemisphere, making itself known to viewers on the east coast of Australia.

It will then travel westward to reach the equator by early afternoon before crossing over the United States by around 7 p.m. The massive space rock will be traveling so fast, it will traverse the full width of the moon in less than a minute, NASA says.

While 19,000 miles might sound far away, the space agency says it’s rare for an object of this size to come so close.

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