Once again, the Slooh Space Camera team will host a live webcast of an asteroid flyby of Earth. This one might be a bit more intriguing than others, if only because of the connotation this asteroid has. Asteroid Apophis a near-Earth asteroid with an estimated diameter of almost three football fields (270m), is making its closest approach to us this year — but it will still be quite distant, at about 14 million km – but this is close enough for astronomers to study the space rock and assess its future risk.
On Wednesday, January 9th, Slooh.com, will start the webcast at 4 p.m. PST / 7 p.m. EST / 00:00 UTC (1/10) — International times here — accompanied by real-time discussions with Slooh President Patrick Paolucci, Slooh Outreach Coordinator and Engineer Paul Cox, and Documentary Filmmaker Duncan Copp.
In 2029, Apophis will still give Earth a very close shave as it will fly past at only 30,000 km. In comparison, the Moon orbits the Earth at 385,000 km and communication satellites at 36,000 km.
At its maximum brightness, Apophis on January 9th will be at a magnitude of 19.7 — not bright enough to view through a backyard telescope, but reasonably bright through Slooh telescopes in the Canary Islands.
Says Patrick Paolucci, “Alone among all these near-Earth asteroids that have passed our way in recent years, Apophis has generated the most concern worldwide because of its extremely close approach in 2029 and potential impact, albeit small, in 2036. We are excited to cover this asteroid live for the general public.”