Sun could save Earth from collision with asteroid Apophis
The impact of solar irradiation on the orbit of asteroid Apophis could prevent it from colliding with the Earth in 2036, an expert from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Astronomy told the 7th International Aerospace Congress.
"In our view, non-gravitational acceleration, or the so-called Yarovsky effect, was not taken into account when the asteroid's orbit was being calculated. Meanwhile, this effect can strongly alter its flight," the expert said.
Russian scientists think that, "the asteroid's collision with the Earth in 2036 has a decreasingly low probability if the Yarkovsky effect is considered," he said.
The Yarkovsky effect manifests itself when the orbit of a circling body comes under the impact of solar irradiation, which leads to a fast, in astronomical standards, evolution of orbits.
Scientists predict that Apophis will fly past the Earth at a distance of 38,000 kilometers on April 13, 2029. "Apophis's orbit will change under the influence of the Earth's gravitation," he said.
The danger the Earth is facing is in that the asteroid's trajectory has not been studied well enough to calculate its further movement after it approaches the Earth, predictably in 2036.
Researchers of the Russian Institute of Astronomy, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (U.S.) and Pisa University (Italy) are working to make a more accurate forecast of the Apophis's trajectory.
Besides the years 2029 and 2036, the asteroid will approach dangerously close to Earth in 2051, 2058, 2066, 2074 and 2089.
Apophis is more than 200 meters in diameter. It was discovered in 2004. Collision with the Earth would cause devastating destruction of thousands of square kilometers,