The large asteroid Apophis will safely pass Earth tonight (March 5) and at least two astronomy streaming services plan to show the flyby on live webcasts.
While personal telescopes less than 12 inches in diameter will endeavor to see Apophis On Friday, both the Slooh online observatory and the Virtual Telescope Project plan separate webcasts for the event. The broadcasts will not only discuss the 2021 flyby, but will also spark interest for a much closer pass in 2029, when Apophis will pass 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) from Earth and be closer than some. high altitude satellites.
During tonight’s much less dramatic flyby, Apophis will remain about 44 times more distant than the moon. At its closest, the asteroid will be more than 10.2 million miles (16.4 million kilometers) from Earth.
The near-Earth asteroid is approximately 300 meters wide and was discovered in 2004; While early initial estimates said there was a slim chance it would crash into Earth in 2029, that was ruled out after scientists refined its orbit, NASA said on their website.
Related: Scientists prepare for their last look at the asteroid Apophis before the 2029 flyby
Slooh will stream live Apophis views on your membership website Slooh.com starting Friday at 8pm EST (Saturday at 0100 GMT). The show will feature Apophis images from Slooh’s remotely operated observatories in Chile and the Canary Islands. A 7-day free trial is available here.
Members can also track the asteroid themselves through telescopes in the Canary Islands and Chile a few hours before the broadcast, Slooh astronomical director Paul Cox told Space.com.
“We will be tracking Apophis most of the night,” Cox said in an email. “I will be hosting the live star party, and our guests are Bob Berman and Dr. Mike Shaw. We will talk about Apophis, the risks that near-Earth objects pose to Earth, our historical coverage of Apophis and tracking Slooh’s legacy these near-Earth asteroids have been around since 2008 “.
Slooh also plans to discuss an upcoming member course on near-Earth object tracking and make presentations to the International Astronomical Union. Minor Planet Center, which is responsible for designating small objects in the solar system, Cox said.
The broadcast of the Virtual Telescope Project, with observation capabilities of the robotic telescope located near Rome, will begin on Friday at 7 pm EST (Saturday, March 6 at 0000 GMT) on this website.
“By far the most famous potentially dangerous asteroid, 99942 Apophis, will have a relatively close approach to Earth,” founder Gianluca Masi said in a statement on the streaming website. “As you await your record-breaking flyby in 2029, we will share this next opportunity with you, so join us and watch it live from the comfort of your home.”
Friday’s flyby will see Apophis get like about 0.11 astronomical units to Earth, or about 44 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. While Apophis does not pose an immediate threat to Earth, NASA and its Planetary Defense Coordination Office Survey the sky regularly using a network of partner telescopes. NASA has a mandate from the United States Congress to search for potentially dangerous asteroids, and so far the agency and its partners have found nothing of imminent concern for residents of Earth.
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