Asteroid Day is on June 30 — and it’s the one day no asteroid will be making its close approach

Asteroid Day is on June 30 — and it’s the one day no asteroid will be making its close approach
Illustration of an asteroid's close approach to EarthMaxpixel

  • Asteroid Day will be celebrated on 30 June 2020 for the sixth time.
  • Even though asteroids are scheduled to make a close approach on June 29 and July 1, on the day itself, there will be no asteroid threats anywhere near Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Asteroid Day is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of the Siberia Tunguska event — the largest asteroid to breach the Earth’s defences in recent years.
Asteroid Day is on June 30 and ironically no asteroid has any plans of flying anywhere close to Earth on the day.

The 2020 JX1 asteroid, between 47 metres to 100 metres in diameter and flying past at 17,784 kilometres per hour (kph), will be making its close approach on June 29.

A day after Asteroid Day — on July 1 — 2019 AC3 will swing by, which is fairly smaller only measuring between 9.2 metres to 21 metres in diameter and slower at speeds of 12,060 kph.

However, on June 30 itself, the space around Earth will be free of any asteroid threats.

Asteroid Day is celebrated on to mark the anniversary of the Siberia Tunguska event. On 30 June 1908, the Tunguska asteroid is largest known asteroid to breach Earth’s defence in the planet’s recent history.

The significance of the Tunguska asteroid impact
The Tunguska asteroid flatted an estimated 80 million trees covering 2,150 square kilometres. No impact crater has been found on the site because scientists estimate that the asteroid disintegrated five to 10 kilometres before hitting the planet’s surface.

Asteroid Day is on June 30 — and it’s the one day no asteroid will be making its close approach
Trees knocked over by the Tunguska blast. Photograph from the Soviet Academy of Science 1927 expedition led by Leonid Kulik.Wikimedia

In addition to destruction that occurred in the immediate area, eye witness reports concede that the impact knocked people off their feet and shattered windows hundreds of kilometres away.

Asteroid Day was co-founded by Queen’s Brian May, filmmaker Greg Richters, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and president of the B612 Foundation Danica Remy in 2015.

“Asteroid Day was created to encourage the public and governments to learn more about asteroids, the origin of our Solar System, and to support the resources necessary to find and deflect asteroids,” according to May.

Asteroid Day expresses the importance of the resources asteroids have within them and their significance in figuring out how the Solar System came to be. Asteroids are essentially leftovers from the Big Bang of rocks that never got a chance to become a planet. Instead, they’re tiny time capsules that hold the secrets of the early universe.

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