An asteroid the size of three football fields will pass by a star and be visible from Earth on Sunday. But have no fear, there is no danger of it hitting our planet.
“With asteroid Apophis or any asteroid we know about now, there’s no need to panic,” said Will Snyder, manager at the St. Louis Science Center McDonnell Planetarium. “You don’t need to go out and buy all the toilet paper or anything.”
According to experts, the 1,000-foot-wide asteroid will sweep across the United States around 11:50 p.m. CT.
“The more that we can understand the orbits of asteroids like Apophis, the better we can prepare,” Snyder said.
But in order to see this rare event, you have to be located exactly along its path.
“At-home scientists and citizen astronomers will have the opportunity to observe this near-Earth asteroid,” said Snyder. “Even something like this, just taking a certain telescope out into your backyard can help scientists and, really, people all across the world understand more about what’s going on overhead.”
Apophis was first discovered in 2004. Scientists say it’s expected to pass Earth again and be visible to the naked eye with upcoming flybys in 2029, 2036 and 2068.
According to EarthSky, the possibility of Apophis hitting Earth in 2029 and 2036 have already been ruled out. But as of this month, the chances of impact during the 2068 flyby are now 1 in 380,000 — a 99.99974% chance the asteroid will miss the Earth.