WASHINGTON (January 10, 2013)--Astronomers got a much better look at a big asteroid when it whizzed by Earth on Wednesday and recalculated, determining it wasn't on path to hit Earth on April 13, 2036 as once feared, NASA said Thursday.
At more than 1,000 feet wide, the rock could have done significant damage but would not have caused worldwide extinctions, experts said.
About nine years ago, when astronomers first saw the asteroid, they thought there was a 2.7 percent chance that Apophis would smack into our planet.
Later, they lowered the chances.
The asteroid is named after an evil Egyptian mythical serpent.
Donald Yeomans, who manages NASA's asteroid-tracking office, now says the asteroid won't get any closer than 19,400 miles to Earth.