Asteroid makes ‘flyby’ Thursday


AFP, and National Historical Commission of the Philippines

A heavenly body packing more energy than 25,000 Hiroshima bombs and which can obliterate Luzon on impact will streak across the skies near Earth on Thursday under the watchful gaze of astronomers the world over.

Scientists will be tracking the path of the asteroid called 99942 Apophis as it comes within 14.5 million kilometers of the Earth’s surface, a distance not visible to the naked eye, but can be seen through a powerful telescope, the country’s chief astronomer said.

“It will appear like a tiny star flying quickly by,” said Dario de la Cruz, head of the space sciences and astronomy section of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

The flyby of Apophis, named after the Egyptian god of darkness, affords astronomers an opportunity to monitor the asteroid’s path and recalculate its odds of ramming the planet when it whizzes by again, at a much closer distance, in 16 years’ time, scientists said.

Closer to earth in ’29

On April 13, 2029, it will fly much closer to Earth at 29,470 km, closer even than the orbit of man-made satellites, according to scientists from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa).

There’s also a tiny chance that when the asteroid passes in 2029, the Earth’s gravity may nudge it from its orbit if it passes through what scientists call a “gravitational keyhole,” such that it may collide with Earth when it comes by again in 2036.

While Nasa and other space agencies are busy observing Apophis’ movement, Pagasa won’t be. “We don’t have the capability to track the asteroids. We will have to rely on other space agencies,” De la Cruz said.

At 270 meters in diameter and based on its projected velocity, the heavenly body will deliver more energy than 25,000 Hiroshima bombs if it smashes into Earth, enough to “turn the entire Luzon into dust,” said Jose Mendoza IV, chief of Pagasa’s astronomical publication unit.

The asteroid “will be moving faster than ordinary satellites,” so stargazers will have to keep their telescope ready when it whizzes by, guided by coordinates provided by international space agencies, he said.

Mendoza said Pagasa did not have the state-of-the-art tracking technology needed to observe cosmic rocks like Apophis, but he encouraged astronomy enthusiasts to do their own research.

When it was first discovered in 2004, Apophis’ chance of hitting the Earth was estimated at a startling 2.7 percent but later calculations based on newer information helped lower this to practically nil.


Second asteroid

Pagasa is also monitoring—through available data—a small asteroid named 2012 DA14.

Citing Nasa information, Mendoza said the asteroid would pass by Earth at a distance of 24,000 km on Feb. 13.

“Satellites go higher than that. We also continue to monitor DA14 and we are also getting information from Nasa offices,” he  said in an earlier Inquirer interview.

Nasa earlier said DA14 would pass inside the geosynchronous satellite ring, located about 35,800 km above the equator, and “travel rapidly from the southern evening sky into the northern morning sky with its closest Earth approach occurring about 19:26 UTC [coordinated universal time].”

But even if it does hit Earth, DA14 “will cause nominal damage.”

Unlike Apophis, DA14—discovered by La Sagra Observatory in Southern Spain—is considered tiny at just 40 m to 45 m in diameter.

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  • Jason Cruz

    Earth is still lucky.      

  • Bisdak_kaayo

    Kung Christiano kayo, nagbasa kayo ng Biblia, sinabi doon na marami pang mangyayari bago pa dumating ang katapusan ng mundo.  The bible speaks of the END of SYSTEM of the world where CHRIST will establish his government first on EARTH. kaya yang END OF THE WORLD na pinag uusapan niyong  PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION hindi iyan mangyari hanggat lahat ng mga nasusulat sa biblia natupad na. Kabilang diyan ang pagsulpot muna ng ANTI CRISTO.

    • tagatabas

       Matagal na nating kasama ang Anti- Kristo

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        marami ang anti cristo. Pero nag iisa lang ang anti cristo na tinutukoy ko ito ay nakasulat sa 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4.  Hindi pa sumulpot ang tao magloklok sa kanyang sarili sa templo ng Diyos at magpasamba na siya ang Diyos.  Hindi pa nga natayo ang templong loklokan niya at lalong hindi pa naganap ang tatakan ng 666 where no one can buy or sell without the anti christ mark.  Tsaka na maganap ang pagbalik ng Diyos kung natupad na ang lahat ng iyan.

      • tagatabas

        Ok, stay where you are. Sa tingin ko naman ay alam mo ang tunay na kahulugan ng buhay, masaya ako dahil malapit ka sa ating Dios at alam mo ang sinasabi mo. Mabuhay ka kaibigan at kung pwede let me have your email add at baka matulungan mo ako in many ways.

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        you can ask me by joining christian forum of the bereans apologetics ministry. the 3rdtemple ang handle ko doon. Maganda ang forum na iyon sali saling relihiyon ang nandoon.  Make sure you click new forum. kasi inactive na ang old forum

  • niceguy60

    This is serious. Look at the radius of previous asteroids that hit the earth. Use google earth. So far only Russia and US has means to go to outer space. The rest of us can only travel to cyber space.

  • kevin

    Sana ,it might not hit the Senate  and the House…sayang yung mga senatong and tongressman

  • farmerpo

    UY, delayed ang flight ng asteroid. Arrival nyan 12/21/12. 

    • marco antonio perez

       nagka abarya sa logistics

    • InSearchOfTruth

      naka book ata sa cebu pac yang asteroid na yan, yung piso fare…  :-D

  • im_earth

    see u on friday!

  • Banana Na

    ang MAYAN ay great astronomer, bakit sa 12-21-2012 ang calendars nila, baka may mangyayari na di maganda…sana wag naman…

  • Danilo Mariano

    “…enough to “turn the entire Luzon into dust,” said Jose Mendoza IV, chief of Pagasa’s astronomical publication unit.”

    Hmmm… why Luzon, chief? 

    • spitfire

       Takot yong asteroid kay Garcia ng Visayas at Murad ng Mindanao.

    • divictes

      Hmmm…”den of iniquities”?… he he he

    • tagatabas

       only good example para maintindihan kung paano maminsala kung mag collide man sa earth, yun lang yun kaibigan.

  • spitfire

    What if D14 will miss but Apopis will hit the earth? There will be a beautiful fireball I guess but only our souls can watch it.  The initial CCN news three days ago said that the window given by NASA is from January 14 to February 15 – exactly one month. So, I don’t know whether they miscalculated the speed that is why they found out that Apopis will pass earlier than they expected. But what if they also miscalculated Apropis distance from earth and it is a near miss or hit? Could this the so called Planet X envisioned by astronomers or Wormwood according to the Bible? Heaven!

    • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

      there have been more close calls than that. also, things like Tunguska, Siberia have already happened in the recent past. it’s just that better equipment exists now.

      • aris alfaro

        …but better equipment is useless if we get hit by a planet-killer asteroid.

    • tagatabas

       So, ngayon palang maghanda na tayo para sa life after death

      • RobinsonRaven44

        kung ang isang politico ay ganid at matakaw sa pera at kapangyarihan, hindi nila maiisip yan bro, dahil tingin nila sa kanilang mga sarili ay mga dyos na sila.

  • Mamang Pulis


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