World Asteroid Day - 30 June

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World-Asteroid-Day---30-JuneWorld Asteroid Day is an annual global event observed on June 30 to commemorate the Tunguska event of 1908, in which a meteor airburst caused significant destruction in central Siberia, Russia.

An overview of the news

  • The Tunguska event is recognized as the Earth's largest recorded asteroid impact, resulting in the devastation of approximately 2,000 square kilometers (500,000 acres) of pine forest.

  • The primary objective of World Asteroid Day is to raise public awareness about the potential hazards posed by asteroid impacts and to inform people about crisis communication strategies in the event of a threat from a near-Earth object (NEO).

  • NEOs are asteroids or comets that come close to Earth's orbit. NASA's Center for NEO Studies has discovered over 16,000 Near Earth Asteroids.

Background of the day

  • The cofounders of Asteroid Day, including renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and astrophysicist Brian May, established the event in 2014, one year after the Chelyabinsk meteor air burst incident.

  • The Chelyabinsk event occurred on February 15, 2013, when a large fireball entered the atmosphere, disintegrating over Chelyabinsk, Russia. 

  • The asteroid responsible was estimated to have a diameter of 18 meters and a mass of 11,000 tons, with an impact energy of 440 kilotons.

  • In December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating June 30 as World Asteroid Day.

  • The purpose of the event is to increase awareness about asteroids and the measures that can be taken to safeguard the Earth, its inhabitants, communities, and future generations from potential catastrophic events.

What are Asteroids?

  • Asteroids are celestial bodies that orbit the Sun and are remnants from the early stages of the solar system's formation, which occurred around 4.6 billion years ago.

  • Unlike planets, asteroids are relatively small in size and vary greatly in shape and composition. 

  • Each asteroid possesses a unique and irregular shape.

  • The majority of asteroids are composed of various types of rocks, while some may contain clays or metallic elements like nickel and iron.

  • The solar system is home to a significant number of asteroids, and many of them reside in the main asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

  • The main asteroid belt is a region where asteroids of various sizes and compositions are concentrated, forming a vast and dynamic collection.

  • The sizes of asteroids in the main belt range from tiny rocky fragments to larger bodies measuring hundreds of kilometers in diameter.

  • As asteroids orbit the Sun, they follow their own distinct paths and trajectories, influenced by gravitational forces from nearby celestial bodies.

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