Asteroid makes ‘flyby’ Thursday



12:31 AM January 9th, 2013


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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  • pdred

     Only Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck can save us!

  • sievert81

    tatamaan ng asteroid na yan ang mga maliliit at maitim na maligno sa malakanyang

  • bubu

    So 2036 is the possible new date for the end of the world

    • marionics

      di naman. kung tama ang estimate ng mga astronomers e equivalent to 50 megatons of tnt lang ang capacity nung asteroid which will flatten several cities siguro but not world ending

  • xrisp

    Wala pong dapat ikabahala kung tayo naman po ay handa nang humarap sa ating Dakilang Lumikha.

  • manong edwin

    This Apophis and this 2012 DA14 and other celestial and cosmic visitors are just God’s signature to affirm and confirm that His creation is not only confined on our planet Earth or our solar system…It only shows that we can really declare and sing “How Great Thou Art, How Great Thous Art!”

    • noonyan

       Para ka rin Intsik gusto angkinin ang hindi sa kanila bwahahahaha

  • aris alfaro

    …and why the h e l l would any scientist name a potential planet-killer asteriod apophis?!?

    • batangpaslit

      Aris, the word Apophis sounds “Ipis”….hehehe

  • RyanE

    Hmm.. “doomsday preppers” will definitely have their sight refocused on 2036, after 2012.. 

    • batangpaslit

      hahaha….they keep on postponing, eh?

    • marionics

      possible lang naman daw na ma nudge ang asteroid into earth’s path if it passes through earth’s gravitational keyhole ika nga. di naman nila sinabi ang chances of that happening. i guess we will know after thursday he he

  • kulittwit

    It could hit earth on 2036…

    OMG! Our children and grandchildren.

    • Bisdak_kaayo

      As a Christian, I do not believe in the Physical Destruction of the Earth happening within 1000 years, but I believe in the end of the WORLD system being replaced by the GOVERNMENT ruled by CHRIST and the SAINTS. Don’t worry, mangyari muna lahat ng nasulat sa biblia before the end of world system happens.  Change of system lang po ang mangyari, not physical destruction.

      • oozingkev

        we humans are already destroying the earth and that was not written.

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        True, we humans are partially destroying earth.  But it is never written in the bible that the end of the world is the EXTINCTION OF LIFE in the planet.  Mostly misconstrued by people.

      • batangpaslit

        It is written Kabayan that humankind ought to take care the garden.
        Read the Book of Genesis—-just the first 12 Chapters and you will find that GOD’s mandate to His creation is to take good care of the world given to us.

      • tagatabas

         Do I know you? From Davao?

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        Nope. From Cebu but migrated to Canada.

      • virgoyap

         He he motuo diay ka sa millennium bay, Saksi ni Jehovah ka?

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        dili ko saksi. very contra ko ng mga saksi. nakasulat bay sa biblia ang 1000 years of Christ and the saints. Transition period towards eternity ng 1000 years.  Sa 1000 years mahitabo ng Lion ug Lamb magdungan ug kaon ug sagbot Isaiah 65:24-25

      • virgoyap

         Aw, mao man god na ang sentro nga doktrina sa mga Saksi ang bahin sa 1000 years diin ang lobo ug ang karnero magsalo na sa pagkaon.

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        it is biblically based bay, 1000 years is the transition period wherein the survivors repopulate the earth.  Nations will beat their swords into plowshares.  Heavenly beings rule the fleshly human world. in short magsagol ang espiritu ug unod sa yuta.  after that matunaw ang tanan towards eternal state na. espiritu na tanan after ana.

      • virgoyap

         Mao lagi! Kanang imong giingon mao na ang gihawirang doktrina sa mga Jehova’s Witness.

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        on the contrary. they do not believe Jesus is to be worshipped. And they believe forever ang FLESH sa kalibutan sa 1000 years. which i don’t agree. Wa koy group affiliation. i am a freelance christian.

      • virgoyap

         Well it’s okay if that’s what you believe…

      • batangpaslit

        well said, Utod

      • batangpaslit

        Virgo, false cults use Scriptures too. Even the Devil quotes Biblical verses.
        Being an earnest student of the Scriptures, I learned that the inspired written Word of GOD employs figures of speech too, just like any literary genre that uses metaphors or allegorical writings.
        The numbers indicated in the Bible could not be interpreted all the time literaly especially if the book being quoted are prophetic books or the apocalypse.
        The 1,000 years may just be symbolic number to illustrate of the lenghty span of time. Man’s 1,000 years is just GOD’s one day.
        Yet, GOD has no sense of time. He is eternal. To Him, there is no yesterday, or tomorrow.
        GOD created time for the sake of humankind to order our day and night.

        I admire your inquisitiveness. I trust, you would find time to examine closely the Scriptures.

        Regarding JW, they claim to be a Christian Sect; but, their core teachings is contrary to the mainstream Christian doctrine. Their view is similar to the view of Iglesia ni Kristo—denying the Diety of Jesus Christ

      • virgoyap

        Batangpaslit, your interpretation about the apocalyptic theme on 1000 years conforms with our Catholic faith. Thanks for reminding me.

      • virgoyap

         Batang paslit your interpretation about the apocalyptic 1000 years is accurate and it conforms with our Catholic faith, thanks for reminding me.
        By the way, unlike the INC who believes that Jesus is man only, the JW believes that Jesus is God but not equal with the Father but he is small God.

      • bubu

         If the asteroid wud hit earth in 2036, earth will not be physically destroyed but life on earth would never be the same again. Just like what happened to the dinosaurs, they went extinct but earth moves on. Who knows after humans are extinguished from the earth, a new dominant species would emerge. A specie who are kind, nature loving, peace loving unlike humans. Humans are the most destructive force on the planet right now. 

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        That is precisely the reason why Christ is coming back to make an end to the world system and establish his government led by him and the saints.

      • batangpaslit

        Bubu, the Scriptures says that the Earth would no longer be destroyed by Flood, but by Fire
        I do not know if this planetary unit would be a fireball if it hits the earth.
        The end of the world would indeed come. But, no one knows.
        What the Scriptures say is, “Be ready”.
        Bisdak have the biblical idea how the world is going to end. 

      • batangpaslit

        your a biblical scholar, Bro. the LORD bless you for having the courae to speak the truth.

  • James Canono

    Apophis is expected to hit earth but NASA (in coordination with the world superpowers) already have a plan on how to divert its trajectory. Admitting to the public that it’s on a straight path towards earth would create a global catastrophe much worse than any devastation caused by the asteroid’s impact.

    • aris alfaro

      …yeah, telling the public that impact is inevitable will create chaos…..but woooohhhhooo, bring it on, apophis!

      • James Canono

        Nothing will happen. We have the technology to divert its trajectory. Not many people are aware of high powered laser beams capable of disintegrating asteroids upon contact. But this wouldn’t work as the debris would cause damage to the Earth’s atmosphere. Diverting its trajectory would be the only viable alternative in this scenario – and easily accomplished because of our current technology. 

      • aris alfaro

        We have the technology to divert its trajectory. Not many people are aware of high powered laser beams capable of disintegrating asteroids upon contact. …very cool. i’m hoping we do have stuff like that, but i really doubt we have stuff that can do that. though i am aware of really powerful lasers, i just dont think it can handle a trajectory travelling in space at huge velocities.
        Diverting its trajectory would be the only viable alternative in this scenario – and easily accomplished because of our current technology. 
         ….like the one in hollywood movies?

      • bubu

         U r reading too much sci-fi fiction. the amount of energy needed to change the tragectory of such a huge heavenly body is simple beyond earth’s capacity. Id say kill off humans, they dont deserve to inherit the earth.

      • DigitalTroll

        Split it I say! We can send a group of NASA trained, crazy western oil drillers to save the day. This will work I am sure of it! Saw the scenario worked a few years ago. Earth was saved! :D

  • blainz

    As good an opportunity this is for cult-heads to wallow in fantasies of rapture, this is a better opportunity to teach the young ones about science. And level-headedness.

    • Bisdak_kaayo

      ang mundo po ay alikabok sa lawak ng universe, yung alam ng tao alikabok lang rin.  Ang kapalaran ng mundo hindi nasa mga scientist o nasa science.  Nasa Diyos lang.

      • blainz

        Science has the humility to admit the truths it illuminates are provisional, subject to refinement with better theories, experiments, and observations.

        What is overwhelmingly vain is to suggest that one can get universal truths absolutely right just from sheer belief. Conviction is no substitute for reason. And for all hallowed talk about fate, people take medicine to avoid the fate that awaits them lest they succumb to microbes long since beaten by science. Should the world need saving from this or some other asteroid, it will again be science’s job to avert “fate”.

        Asserting that we are like dust to the cosmos is no reason for blind faith. Awe-inspiring does not imply God. Belittling the sum of human knowledge only indicates contempt for humanity; this is not humility, but arrogance. What science has gained for all of us may be small, but it is not negligible.

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        1 Corinthians 3:19
        For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.

      • taga_ilog

        Sir, is god omniscient? how can it be that he was wiser than the men who invented him. the bible is full of contradictions, you may perhaps refute this with seemingly logical reasoning, appearing to understand a culture of a people a few thousand years ago but the truth is, you don’t know anything about those people and how they think. the bible is a myth of a desert tribe, that is the truth.

      • Bisdak_kaayo

        The dead sea scrolls is not a myth. It is a physical evidence attesting to the story of the tribes in the past.  These archaeological relics and other corroborative relics have been DATE TESTED by scientists themselves to validate the age of these relics and documents.  By the way if you do not believe in God you are on a lose lose situation.  There is no hope of eternal life in you.  Where as we who are believers of a God, there is hope for eternal life, for our God just requires us to believe in him in order to be granted salvation.  

      • taga_ilog

        the pascal’s wager eh? the dead sea scroll are real of course, but does the things written in it real also? there are even more cuneiform tablets from the sumerian civilization older than the dead sea scrolls, the point is, it doesn’t prove that god exist, as much as the volumes of documents from sumer proves that enlil exists. 

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