Apophis Asteroid: How to Watch Live Images As 'God of Chaos' Flies By

An asteroid nicknamed the "God of Chaos" is due to pass over the Earth on Friday, March 5, and astronomers are offering the chance to watch it live.

The Europe-based Virtual Telescope Project will host a live feed online, in which viewers will be able to see telescope images of the asteroid. The feed is due to start on March 6 at 00:00 UTC, or 19:00 EST.

The asteroid, also called Apophis, will make its close approach at 8:15 p.m. EST on Friday, according to NASA's CNEOS asteroid-tracking database.

It is going to pass by the Earth at a distance of nearly 10.5 million miles—roughly 44 times the distance between the Earth and the moon—based on NASA's predictions as of March 3.

Gianluca Masi, director of the Virtual Telescope Project, told Newsweek: "We will bring to our viewers the same they would [see] live at the observatory, as we will be sharing the entire imaging procedure with them. We will also animate some images taken back-to-back, to make the motion more evident."

Scientists have been interested in Apophis since its discovery in 2004, when scientists calculated there was a possibility of about 2.7 percent it would collide with the Earth in 2029.

Scientists think Apophis is between 310 meters and 680 meters in diameter, so even at the lower estimate the asteroid is almost as wide as the Eiffel Tower is tall. It is also travelling at a speed of around 10,245 miles per hour.

More accurate calculations since 2004 have significantly reduced the chance of any such collision taking place in 2029 (or this week.)

NASA no longer lists 2029 in its Earth Impact Risk Summary for Apophis, which starts in the year 2056 through to 2107.

In April 2029 Apophis is due to make another, much closer pass around 20,000 miles from the Earth—several times closer than the distance between our planet and the Moon.

The Virtual Telescope Project, which is showing this Friday's live stream, was started in 2006. It allows people to access the Bellatrix Observatory, a backyard astrophysics center based in Italy. It consists of two telescopes which can be accessed remotely via the internet.

One is a C14 Optical Tube Assembly and the other is a Planewave 17 inch telescope on a robotic mount, which the project says is useful for imaging very faint objects in space, such as passing asteroids.

Asteroid in space
A stock image shows an asteroid floating through space against a backdrop of stars. Telescopes will track Apophis as it passes Earth on Friday. iStock/dottedhippo