NEO Apophis 0.1 AU Passage in January #5545838 - 11/29/12 04:52 PM
NEO Asteroid 99942 Apophis caused a stir eight years ago when it was calculated that it would make close passes by the Earth in 2029 and 2036, and possibly collide. It has since been determined that a collision in 2029 is not possible, and one in 2036 is given only a 1/250,000 likelihood.
Meanwhile the approximately 270-meter wide asteroid is predicted to pass less than 0.1 AU from the Earth on 2013 JAN 09. Greatest brilliance for this apparition at magnitude +16.1 is expected on JAN 20.
I’ve created three preview graphics with data related to the January apparition of Apophis. They can be seen on my asteroids webpage at: www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids
Photos and descriptions of Apophis would be welcome additions to this thread.
I’ve improved the graphics on both my comets and asteroids webpages for near-Earth objects (NEO). The overhead views from above the ecliptic plane now show the orbits colorized. This is to make it clearer when a minor body is “above” (north) or “below” (south) the ecliptic plane. Some of the bodies have orbits highly inclined to the ecliptic and the relationship between the two orbital planes needed to be made more obvious.
Today Apophis made its closest approach to Earth for its current apparition at less than 0.1 AU.
Also today the European Space Agency announced that data from its infrared space telescope indicates that the diameter of Apophis is closer to 325 meters rather than the previous estimate of 270 meters.