PUBLISHED: 17:15, Tue, Nov 3, 2020 | UPDATED: 17:17, Tue, Nov 3, 2020
US space agency NASA last year announced it was tracking a huge asteroid dramatically dubbed the ‘God of Chaos’. The path of the gigantic piece of space debris was calculated to safely hurtle past our planet in 2036 - though initial calculations when it was first discovered in 2004 indicated a small possibility it would impact Earth in 2029.
Now Asteroid Apophis has been confirmed to safely blast past our planet at a mere 23,441 miles (37,725km) away on April 13, 2029.
We have known for some time that an impact with Earth is not possible during the 2029 close approach
Professor Dave Tholen
To put this into context, this is approximately only 10 percent of the average distance between Earth and its Moon.
Lance Benner of NASA, said in statement: “This will be the closest approach by something this large currently known.
[In 2029] Apophis will be visible to the unaided eye for several hours, and Earth tides will probably change its spin state.”
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Asteroid Apophis: Astronomers have announced the colossal ‘God of Chaos’ space rock is accelerating (Image: University of Hawaii,NASA)
Asteroid Apophis: This gigantic piece of space debris was calculated to safely hurtle past our planet in 2036 (Image: Express)
However, University of Hawaii astronomers keeping tabs on Asteroid Apophis have now noticed a subtle shift in the rogue space rock’s trajectory.
The asteroid trackers have detected what is known in scientific circles as the Yarkovsky acceleration - a tiny push imparted by the ever-so faint energy of sunlight.
This physical effect means the space rock - which is about the size of three-and-a-half football fields and is travelling at speeds of 68,736mph - is drifting more than 170 metres from its expected position in orbit.
Asteroid Apophis: Trackers have detected what is known as