The fourth annual International Asteroid Day is Saturday, June 30, 2018. Now recognized by the United Nations, Asteroid Day marks a global opportunity to raise awareness of the threat and opportunity posed by the numerous rocky bodies zooming through space.
Asteroid Day is held on the anniversary of the most devastating asteroid impact in Earth’s recent history – an event that took place on June 30, 1908, known as the Tunguska explosion, when a small asteroid struck the Earth over Tunguska, Siberia. It was originally estimated to have released the equivalent of up to 30 megatons of TNT, although, in recent years, the number has been revised downward to perhaps 3 to 5 megatons of TNT. Whatever the actual power of the explosion, it devastated an area of forest about 800 square miles (about 2,000 square km), the size of Greater London.
Join the Asteroid Day 48-hour live broadcast, with content and commentary from asteroid experts, astronauts, policy makers and celebrities around the world, starting June 29, 2018, at 10:00 UTC (6:00 a.m. EDT). Translate UTC to your time. See the schedule here. You can stream the broadcast for free from the Asteroid Day website, Youtube channel or Twitter.
There are also live local events for Asteroid Day all around the world. Find an Asteroid Day event near you.
— Asteroid Day ? (@AsteroidDay) June 27, 2018
From the European Southern Observatory, here’s a taste of what’s in store on Asteroid Day 2018.
Here’s the premise of Asteroid Day, in the words of co-founder Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist, guitarist and songwriter for the band Queen:
Our goal is to dedicate one day each year to learn about asteroids, the origins of our universe, and to support the resources necessary to see, track and deflect dangerous asteroids from Earth’s orbital path. Asteroids are a natural disaster we know how to prevent.
The story of Asteroid Day.
For asteroid news and updates, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter.
Bottom line: International Asteroid Day 2018 happens on Saturday, June 30.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.