A lot of people considered 2020 to be a hectic mess of a year, but now the God of Chaos is coming.
That’s the nickname of the asteroid Apophis, which is expected to make a flyby near Earth this weekend. And scientists are excitedly standing by.
They are also (gasp) observing the large flying to rock to gauge a potential asteroid collision with Earth in the future.
“The space rock, thought to be between 310 and 680 meters (1,017 ft to 2,230 ft) in diameter, is going to coast past the Earth at 8:15 p.m. ET on March 5,” Newsweek reported. “It will pass at a distance of around 10,225,000 miles—equivalent to around 43 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. The distance may seem large, but it is small in astronomical terms.”
Apophis is scheduled to make an even closer pass to Earth in April 2029, when scientists predict the asteroid will be a mere 19,800 miles away when it races past.
“Predictions such as this are what led scientists to give Apophis its name, after the Egyptian deity who personified chaos,” Newsweek reported.
How much damage would an asteroid cause if it were to collide with Earth? Well, it depends on the size. So scientists will also be recording Apophis’ dimensions.
“The asteroid that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013 was only around 17 meters in diameter, according to Peter Brown, a physics professor at Western University in Ontario, yet it released enough energy to shatter windows over 200 square miles and injured more than 1,600 people,” Newsweek wrote.
Now that’s chaos. This one, presumably, will be big news in name only.