The third annual International Asteroid Day is today, June 30, 2017. According to its organizers, Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign to help people learn about asteroids and about what we can do to protect our planet from asteroid impacts. This year, it includes a 24-hour streaming-video marathon (see above) that kicked off at 01:00 UTC this morning; translate to your time zone or just press “play” above to see if the livestream is still going. If you’re reading this on Friday, and the livestream above isn’t working, try this link.
There are also live events in many places for Asteroid Day. Find an Asteroid Day event near you
Asteroid Day is held on the anniversary of the largest asteroid impact in Earth’s recent history – an event that took place in Siberia on June 30, 1908, known as the Tunguska explosion.
A small asteroid apparently exploded over Tunguska, Siberia. It released the equivalent of 100 tons of TNT, devastating an area of about 800 square miles (about 2,000 square km), the size of a major metropolitan city.
The main livestream event is in Luxembourg, but, as the day passes today, organizers will hand off the show to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, to the European Space Agency, and to NASA.
NASA’s portion of Asteroid Day 2017 starts at 16:00 UTC (noon EDT) on Friday, June 30. Its program will air on NASA TV so check that if the livestream above isn’t work. It’ll feature information on how researchers find, track and characterize NEOs – asteroids and comets that come within the vicinity of Earth’s orbit and could pose an impact hazard to Earth – and how NASA is working to get our nation prepared to respond to a potential impact threat.
NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson said in a statement:
At NASA, every day is an asteroid day, but we value the international collaboration for a designated day to call attention to the importance of detecting and tracking hazardous asteroids.
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.
For asteroid news and updates, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter:
Bottom line: International Asteroid Day 2017 happens on Friday, 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.