Asteroid Apophis Gives a Earth Close Shave in 2029 (Infographic)

Infographic: Asteroid Apophis' close pass poses no danger
The huge asteroid will pass close, but scientists say it won't hit us. (Image credit: Karl Tate, contributor)


After its discovery in 2004, astronomers gave the asteroid Apophis a 2.4 percent chance of hitting the earth during its close flyby on April 13, 2029.  If the 1,066-foot (325 meters) asteroid were to strike our planet, the blast could equal hundreds of megatons.

Fortunately, further analysis showed that Apophis will miss the Earth by 19,400 miles (31,300 kilometers) in 2029. Extrapolating further into the future, another approach in 2036 is an even bigger miss. Apophis has only a one in a million chance of hitting Earth on that pass.

An asteroid that approaches Earth closely is called a Near Earth Object, or NEO. Astronomers track these objects carefully to provide early warning if one is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. [See Photos of Giant Asteroid Apophis]

Comets also pose an impact threat, but in Earth’s part of the solar system asteroids outnumber comets 100 to 1.

On February 15, 2013, the newly discovered asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass lower than the belt of communications satellites that girdles Earth’s equator at an altitude of 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers).

NASA scientists calculate that 2012 DA14 poses no threat of collision with the Earth. The asteroid is estimated to be about 150 feet (45 meters) across.

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Karl Tate contributor

Karl's association with goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.