Asteroid Day is observed on June 30th and it serves as an unsettling reminder of the dangers of asteroid impacts.

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Asteroid Day

Did you know that the last day of June is observed as "Asteroid Day?"  It's true! This day has been gaining popularity, but what is it?  Let's go right to the source, AsteroidDay.org says the reason for Asteroid Day is to remind people of the potential threat asteroids could pose to Earth.

Asteroid Day as observed annually on 30 June is the United Nations sanctioned day of public awareness of the risks of asteroid impacts

 

Fun, right?  Well, something pretty cool is Asteroid Day was actually co-founded by Queen's Brian May (did you know it's actually Dr. Brian May and he is an Astrophysicist? Who knew?).

Asteroid Day was 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 Foundation President Danica Remy, to educate the public about the importance of asteroids –their role in the formation of our solar system, their impact in space resources and the importance of defending our planet from future impacts.

Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash
Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash
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The Eerie Reason Asteroid Day is Observed on June 30th

Here's where things get a little bit creepy! Asteroid Day is observed on June 30th, because it's the anniversary of Earth's largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event.

If you haven't heard of the Siberia Tunguska event, let us take a trip back in time to over 100 years ago.  On June 30th, 1908 an explosion happened that caused a ton of damage in Siberia.

Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash
Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash
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 NASA explains:

It is estimated the asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere traveling at a speed of about 33,500 miles per hour. During its quick plunge, the 220-million-pound space rock heated the air surrounding it to 44,500 degrees Fahrenheit. At 7:17 a.m. (local Siberia time), at a height of about 28,000 feet, the combination of pressure and heat caused the asteroid to fragment and annihilate itself, producing a fireball and releasing energy equivalent to about 185 Hiroshima bombs.

Fun, right?  The good news is there is no record of any lives being lost in the Siberia Tunguska event, but it's definitely a startling reminder that Earth is just a tiny rock floating through space.     You can see photos of the Siberia Tunguska event, and read more about it, here.

QUIZ: Can you identify 50 famous companies by their logos?

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