Scientists claim that the phenomenon increases the possibility of Apophis influencing the Earth in 2068; an event previously considered “impossible”.
The asteroid is pushed by sunlight. Jarkowski acceleration comes into play when the thermal radiation is no longer uniform, which means that some parts of the space rock heat up faster than others.
“They show that the asteroid is moving away from a purely gravitational orbit by about 170 meters per year, which is enough to keep the 2068 impact scenario in play.
Astronomers will know if the asteroid will hit Earth long before 2068.
Mr Tolen has been tracking Apophis’ movements in the sky since his team discovered him in 2004.
Afofis will also make “extremely close” access to Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029.
During this 300-meter flight, the asteroid will be visible to the naked eye, but there is no chance of impact.
“We have known for some time that impact with the Earth is not possible during the upcoming approach in 2029,” Mr Tolen said.
This is not the first time our blue planet has come into close contact with a potentially dangerous asteroid, from the dinosaur killer Chicksulub.
NASA spotted it just three weeks before it passed.