[Click here to watch the live stream of the Apophis asteroid, the “doomsday object.”]
Thanks to a European space telescope, new images of Apophis have been captured.
The pictures show that it’s a “potentially hazardous” object and much bigger than scientists first believed.
The huge space rock can be seen through two free webcasts tonight, Jan. 9.
Asteroid Apophis was dubbed "doomsday asteroid" after a 2004 study that estimated a 2.7 percent chance of it crashing into Earth when it was passing within 22,364 miles (36,000 kilometers) of our planet in April 2029, European Space Agency officials said to science website.
But later studies revealed that the asteroid will not be a threat for Earth when it flies by. Even so, astronomers have been vigilant when it comes to tracking the object considering it will come near again in 2036.
"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 [chances of a] potential impact, albeit small, in 2036," Space.com quoted Slooh president Patrick Paolucci.
The infrared Herschel Space Observatory has found that Apophis is about 1,066 feet (325 meters) wide, which makes it 20 percent larger than first thought, ESA announced.
"The 20 percent increase in diameter … translates into a 75 percent increase in our estimates of the asteroid's volume or mass," Space quoted Thomas Müller from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.
The live stream footage of Apophis will be coming from telescopes in Italy and the Canary Islands, the science website said.
The space rock will look like a bright light going across the sky to stargazers, but it can only be seen on the live stream footage since it’s too small to be seen from “backyard” telescopes.