Archive for March 30, 2021

03/30/2021 – Ephemeris – Apophis asteroid will not hit the Earth in the next 100 years, if ever

March 30, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 41 minutes, setting at 8:08, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:24. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 10:50 this evening.

When the asteroid Apophis was discovered in 2004, it was calculated to have a 2.7% chance of hitting the Earth on Friday the 13th, no less, in April 2029. That’s 8 years from now. Except it won’t. We knew that early on. The next possible collision date would be on April 13, 2036 if Apophis passes through a hypothetical “keyhole” in time and space on its 2029 pass setting up a trajectory that would intercept the Earth on that date. Recent radar studies using pulses sent from Goldstone in California, off the asteroid, and received by the Green Bank Radio Telescope in West Virginia have refined the orbit to as to preclude any collision of Apophis with the Earth for at least the next 100 years. So Apophis was removed from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s asteroid risk list last Thursday.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


The orbits of Apophis and Earth and their locations on April 24, 2021. The proximity of Apophis to the Earth in March allowed radar observations that ruled out a collision with the Earth for at least the next 100 years. Image credit: JPL Small-Body Database Browser.