Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Herschel spacecraft eyes asteroid Apophis

Date:
January 9, 2013
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists using the Herschel Space Observatory made new observations of asteroid Apophis as it approached Earth this past weekend. The data show the asteroid to be bigger than first estimated, and less reflective.

The Photodetecting Array Camera and Spectrometer instrument aboard the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory captured asteroid Apophis in its field of view during the approach to Earth on Jan. 5 and 6, 2013.
Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/MACH-11/MPE/ESAC

Scientists using the Herschel Space Observatory made new observations of asteroid Apophis as it approached Earth this past weekend. The data show the asteroid to be bigger than first estimated, and less reflective.

Discovered in 2004, Apophis was initially thought to have a 2.7 percent chance of impacting Earth in 2029. Additional observations of the asteroid ruled out any possibility of an impact in 2029. However, Apophis is expected to make a record-setting -- but harmless -- close approach to Earth on April 13, 2029, when it comes no closer than 18,300 miles (29,450 kilometers) above Earth's surface. The asteroid will make another approach to Earth in 2036. Data collected by telescopes during today's close approach are expected to refine the asteroid's orbit to the point where an impact in 2036 can be ruled out.

The Herschel Observatory is a European Space Agency mission in which NASA plays an important role.

Over the weekend, Herschel gathered data while observing Apophis for about two hours on its approach to Earth, ahead of today's closest encounter at a little less than one-tenth of the distance from Earth to the sun: about 9 million miles (14.5 million kilometers). The space observatory provided the first thermal infrared observations of Apophis at different wavelengths, which together with optical measurements helped refine estimates of the asteroid's properties. Previous estimates bracketed the asteroid's average diameter at about 885 feet (270 meters). Herschel's observations indicate the space rock is about 1,060 feet (325 meters) across.

By analyzing the heat emitted by Apophis, Herschel also provided a new estimate of the asteroid's albedo -- a measure of its reflectivity-- of 0.23. This value means that 23 percent of the sunlight falling onto the asteroid is reflected; the rest is absorbed and heats up the asteroid. The previous albedo estimate for Apophis was 0.33.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Herschel spacecraft eyes asteroid Apophis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109200639.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2013, January 9). Herschel spacecraft eyes asteroid Apophis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109200639.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Herschel spacecraft eyes asteroid Apophis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109200639.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Has Finally Reached Mars

NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Has Finally Reached Mars

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) After a 10-month voyage through space, NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is now orbiting the Red Planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

AFP (Sep. 21, 2014) SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship blasts off toward the International Space Station, carrying a load of supplies and science experiments for the astronauts living there. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins