Apophis is an asteroid the size of four football fields hurtling through space at 79,847 (49,904). In 2004 it reached the highest ever impact hazard category 4 on the Torino scale with the odds of a collision with Earth estimated at 2.7%, according to NASA. 99942 Apophis was previously designated 2004 MN4.
Where is Asteroid Apophis now?Space in 3D Web App
Apophis circles the sun in an orbit very close to Earth. Currently it's 247,045,941 (165,045,941) from us, getting 0 closer to us every second, at 32,624 (20,390) The date for potential impact is 2029, but regularly the asteroid encounters earth in its orbit and this is not always a collision risk. The next encouter between Earth and this asteroid is Thu, Oct 12, 2020 when Apophis will pass by Earth at 31,881,145 km (19,810,025 Mi).
Since last night Apophis got 531,068 km (331,917 mi) closer. Since you started looking at this page it has come 0 km (0 mi) closer.
Will it hit or miss Earth?
New radar and optical data has since reduces the odds a bit, and the current estimation is that in 2029 Apophis will pass near us at only 31,300 km (19,449 Mi). This is less than a tenth of the distance to the moon, too close for comfort? At least we don't come eye to eye with minor planet number 99942. It weights 61,000,000,000 kg and it's approach speed is a breathtaking 32,624 (20,390). An impact would be similar to exploding the entire global nuclear arsenal of about 15,000 nuclear weapons, at once.
Astronomers get excited about this pass as it will be a great opportunity to observe an asteroid that large from such a close distance. Scientists have observed small asteroids at that distance from earth, but it doesn't happen very often that an asteroid as large as 2004MN4 Apophis passes so close in between the moon and the earth. We might be able to get information on it's size, shape and maybe even the interior. Flying so close to earth will also change Apophis' orbit slightly.
The space rock is named after Apep, the Egyptian god of chaos.
Photo Credit and other: NASA, ESO/S. Brunier, NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI, NASA/JPL-Caltech, UH/IA