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Asteroid Day 2017 is June 30

Yes, asteroids pose a threat to Earth, but they also represent untapped resources. Tune in to the Asteroid Day livestream and learn more.

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.

2016 map of asteroids near Earth, from Armagh Observatory. Read more about this image.

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.

Watch NASA’s contribution to Asteroid Day here.

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.

An object entered the atmosphere over the Urals early in the morning of 15 February 2013. The fireball exploded above Chelyabinsk city, and the resulting overpressure caused damage to buildings and injuries to hundreds of people. This photo was taken by Alex Alishevskikh from about a minute after noticing the blast. Photo credit: Alex Alishevskikh/Flickr

An object entered the atmosphere over the Urals early in the morning of February 15, 2013. The fireball exploded above Chelyabinsk city, resulting in damage to buildings and injuries to some 1,500 people. This photo was taken by Alex Alishevskikh from about a minute after noticing the blast. Photo via Alex Alishevskikh/Flickr

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.

Brian May

Astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May is a co-founder of Asteroid Day.

For asteroid news and updates, follow AsteroidWatch on Twitter:

Bottom line: International Asteroid Day 2017 happens on Friday, June 30.

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Image via Debbie Lewis

Image via Debbie Lewis

Eleanor Imster