Giant asteroid 99942 Apophis: U.S. astronomers first discovered Apophis first in 2004
An asteroid named 99942 Apophis is all set to fly towards Earth in next 10 years, US space agency NASA said. The asteroid is named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction. It is going to approach the Earth dangerously close on April 13, 2029. However, you need not to worry as it will be about 31,000km away from the surface of the Earth. This is going to be a great opportunity for asteroid scientists as it's relatively rare for such a large object to pass so close to the Earth.
"The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science," Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a NASA release.
"We'll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few meters in size," Brozovic said.
“Extending about 340m across, about 2 billion people should be able to see it pass by with their naked eyes as it flies above Earth from the east coast to the west coast of Australia, then across the Indian Ocean and the equator, before moving west above Africa and finally over the Atlantic Ocean,” NASA said. However, current calculations show that Apophis still has a small chance of impacting earth.
U.S. astronomers first discovered Apophis first in 2004. Since then optical and radar telescopes have tracked Apophis.