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World Asteroid Day 2019: Current Events and History

World Asteroid Day is observed on 30 June every year to raise awareness about the role of asteroids in the formation of our universe, how their resources can be used in the future, how asteroids provide the way for future exploration and also how we can protect our planet from the impacts of asteroids. A lot more to read about World Asteroid Day, why it is celebrated, how it is celebrated, what are asteroids and history.
Jun 29, 2019 11:10 IST
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World Asteroid Day 2019: Current Events and History
World Asteroid Day 2019: Current Events and History

World Asteroid Day is a global movement to protect our Earth from the impacts of Asteroids. Several events are organised all over the world to educate people about asteroids. In 2019, fifth Asteroid Day is celebrated. It is an official United Nations Day of global awareness and education about asteroids.

What are Asteroids?
Asteroids are small rocky body that orbits around the sun. Mostly, they are found between the orbits of mars and Jupiter but some have more eccentric orbits. So, we can say that asteroids are rocky-metallic objects which range in size from about the size of pebbles to around 600 miles across. They are so small that are not considered as planets but they orbit Sun. They are known as the left over material of the Solar System. Astronomers also identified that a group of asteroids whose orbits cross Earth's orbit. Do you know that several hundred thousand asteroids are known to exist in our Solar System and many are yet to be discovered? Some asteroids are so small that are difficult to detect.

World Asteroid Day: History
In December 2016, the United nations General Assembly adopted a resolution A/RES/71/90 and declared 30 June as International Asteroid Day to observe annually the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, Russian Federation, on 30 June, 1908 at international level to raise awareness about the hazardous impact of Asteroids. Let us tell you that the General Assembly's decision was made on the basis of a proposal made by the Association of Space Explores, which was endorsed by Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

Asteroid Day was co-founded by astrophysicist and famed musician Dr. Brian May of the rock group QUEEN; Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart; Filmmaker Grig Richters; and B612 President Danica Remy, to promote awareness and provide knowledge to the general public about the importance of asteroids in the formation of our universe and the role they play in our solar system today.

There is an organisation named B612 that works towards protecting the Earth from asteroid impacts, informing and forwarding world-wide decision making on planetary defense issues.

What if an asteroid was about to hit Earth?

What is Tunguska Impact?
The anniversary of Tunguska impact is observed on 30 June which is also known as the Tunguska impact. A large explosion occurred on that day in the sky over the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia. Around 2,000 kilometers that is 770 square miles forest areas was destroyed due to this, flattening about 80 million trees. There were no official reports of any human casualties but the area is sparsely populated.

It was thought that an asteroid or a comet was responsible for the blast. This event, Tunguska impact is considered as the largest asteroid impact on the Earth in recorded history.

World Asteroid Day 2019: Events
Various events are organised all over the world. These events are at NASA and other space agency facilities, planetariums, museums, universities and much more.

Also, World Asteroid Day 2019 events will take place in all the five continents and are in the process of being organised by the local organisations:

In Europe: There are several organisations like Luxembourg’s Ministry of Education, SpaceResources.lu and National Museum of Natural History who organise events across the country. The world's largest meteorite collection will be showcase by the Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria. The new Hellenic Meteorite Museum is hosting a variety of events in Greece.

In North America: Several events will be held at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, in addition to other science centers, universities and astronomy clubs throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.

In Africa: On National TV (TVM) a special presentation will be hosted by Mozambique about asteroids in coordination with the international Astronomical Unit (IAU), at a special session during the National Astronomical Society Meeting. An event namely “Asteroids and Safety of The Earth” will be hosted by the Egypt's Scientific Society of Astronomy and Space at the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics in Cairo.

In South America: Some group of astronomical backpapers known as Mochileros Astronomicos, will teach across the country about astronomy in several schools, planetariums and communities. Also, 100 years of the International Astronomical Union will be celebrated in the events organised on Asteroids across Brazil Astronomical institutions.

In Asia: Several lectures and activities are hosted by the Kazakhstan Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, in Almaty. In Israel also events are organised at the Givatayim Observatory, Netanya Planetarium and the Yarqa Space Center.

According to press release of Asteroidday.org:
Luxembourg (21 June, 2019) – Scientists and scholars, astrophysicists and engineers, students and academics will gather in 192 countries to be part of Asteroid Day, the official United Nations’ day of awareness and education about asteroids and is celebrated around one week. In 2019, the fifth anniversary of Asteroid Day, events will focus on the role of asteroids in the formation of our solar system and advances in technology to better detect, track and analyze asteroids and review our ability to deflect a rogue asteroid headed towards Earth. Let us tell you that an Asteroid Day is a program of Asteroid Foundation, a Luxembourg nonprofit organization.

What are Near-Earth Objects (NEO)?

How Asteroids are detected?
NASA’s Pan-STARRS and Catalina sky surveys have detected most of the known near earth asteroids. The European Space Agency will deploy new Flyeye and Test-Bed Telescopes. An astronomical survey known as The Near-Earth Object Survey TELescope (NEOSTEL aka “Flyeye”). It is also an early-warning system for detecting near-Earth objects sized 40 meters and above a few weeks before they impact Earth. It is said that if we could be able to track all asteroids threats down to 40 meters then we would be safe from impacts down to city level threats.

Let us tell you that according to April 2019, twenty thousand near earth asteroids have been found. They are founded at a rate of 150 new discoveries every month and this number will rapidly increase.

NASA’s report on Asteroid:
NASA’s Earth impact monitoring system has detected an asteroid that has a chance of hitting Earth in October. The name of the asteroid is 2007 FT3 that was detected by NASA’s Sentry, an automated system that specifically monitors near-Earth objects that are on potential impact courses with the planet. The asteroids listed by Sentry are those that could hit Earth within the next 100 years.

The earliest possible impact event would occur on 3 October, 2019.  Asteroid 2007 FT3’s chances of hitting Earth in October is 1 out of 11 million. Starting in 2024, the asteroid is expected to have near-collisions with Earth on almost a yearly basis.

According to NASA’s database, the asteroid has a diameter of 1,115 feet, making it significantly taller than the Eiffel Tower in France. The space agency predicted that it will enter Earth’s atmosphere with a velocity of 45,600 miles per hour.

Given the asteroid’s size and speed, it will release a huge blast energy if it hits Earth. NASA noted that it will produce an energy equivalent to 2.7 million kilotons of TNT upon impact. This would be 100,000 times the force of the atomic bombs used in WW2.

Therefore, asteroids are rocky objects that are found orbiting around the Sun and also between the planets Mars and Jupiters. It is necessary to understand about asteroids hazardous impacts. So, for this World Asteroid Day is celebrated across the globe to educate people about the asteroids and their impacts.
Source: Asteroidday,org, Un.org

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