Asteroid Day, the official United Nations’day of global awareness and education about asteroids, has announced worldwide events for the week of 25-30 June. 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, Asteroid Day began with two major events in 2015, and has grown to more than 2000 self-organized events worldwide.
Asteroid Day events will address science as well as government and private-sector initiatives to study asteroids, and particularly advanced efforts to develop greater detection, tracking and deflection techniques. Recent news, including the asteroid impact in Botswana, spotted only hours before impact this month, and the discovery last October of ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System, has renewed the focus on asteroid missions, such as ESA’s AIM/Hera, and NASA’s NEOCam. Additionally, results from a recent Pew Research Center independent survey showed the American public favors greater funding for planetary science.
Asteroid Day events are independently produced by space agencies, universities, science centers, planetariums, observatories, museums, schools, theaters, libraries, local governments and other civic organizations. Most events are aimed at citizens of all ages, and are free of charge.
As in previous years, the European Space Agency (ESA) is strongly supporting Asteroid Day events in 2018. On Friday, 29 June, ESA senior managers, including Director General Jan Wörner, asteroid mission experts and ESA Astronaut Matthias Maurer, will participate in Asteroid Day LIVE from Luxembourg. On 30 June, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and ESA are teaming up to produce a live webcast from the new ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre in Garching, near Munich, Germany, packed with expert interviews, news and updates and some of the most recent asteroid science results, starting at 13:00 (1:00 PM) CEST. Watch live via http://www.esa.int/asteroidday.
2018 ASTEROID DAY EVENTS
Full listing can be accessed at: http://www.AsteroidDay.org
A sampling of local events and films (to date):
- Songwe Region, Tanzania.Lt. Chiku Chiku Gallawa will showcase the Mbozi meteorite, the sixth largest in the world; 40,000 participants expected to attend.
- National Space Centre, Leicester, UK has created Space Lates, with planetarium shows, VR experience and demos.
- Osservatorio Copernico, Rimini, Italy. The Park of the Observatory presents a major exhibition of meteorites from international collectors and an inflatable planetarium with telescopes to study the planets and stars.
- ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, Garching, Germany
- Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, TX
- Museum of Modern Art, New York will showcasing the sleek newStellina Telescope
- National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC will host US Astronaut Dr. Thomas Jones, NASA and other planetary experts, with special presentations and exhibits within NASM.
- AIAA Planetary Planetary Defense and Asteroid Exploration Conference, Los Angeles, CA
- Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL, will host US Astronaut Nicole Stott, and special public presentations and activities.
- Discovery Channel, a primary media partner of Asteroid Day, has produced specials about asteroids, and will showcase a VR presentation and other films on their worldwide channels.
- Scientists Rock, a seven-part series about Asteroids can be viewed on the Asteroid Day website. The series is narrated by famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, with interviews with UK Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees, Dr. Brian May, Peter Gabriel, and scores of astronauts and asteroid experts.