New York Nov 11: Come 2068 and the whole of humanity could be potentially wiped out due to an asteroid attack. Yes, you heard that right. According to astronomers, an asteroid named ‘Apophis’ is expected to pass extremely close or may hit the Earth in 2068 due to a phenomenon called Yarkovsky effect. Interestingly, the asteroid is named after The Egyptian god of Chaos and Evil.
Discovered in 2004, asteroid Apophis is a 1,120-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) asteroid, about the size of three-and-a-half football fields, NASA said.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have announced the detection of Yarkovsky acceleration on the near-Earth asteroid Apophis
This acceleration arises from an extremely weak force on an object due to non-uniform thermal radiation.
This force is particularly important for the asteroid Apophis as it affects the probability of an Earth impact in 2068, the astronomers said.
“All asteroids need to reradiate as heat the energy they absorb from sunlight in order to maintain thermal equilibrium, a process that slightly changes the orbit of the asteroid,” they wrote.
Apophis may approach extremely close to the Earth on April 13, 2029, when the 300 metre-sized asteroid will become visible to the unaided eye as it passes within the belt of communications satellites orbiting the Earth.