To mark the sixth annual Asteroid Day, the Virtual Telescope Project, the world’s leading facility for broadcasting close encounters with near-Earth asteroids, is offering a live stream of the event. Dr Gianluca Masi, of the Virtual Telescope Project, revealed the purpose of the annual asteroid event to Express.co.uk in an email.
He said: “Asteroid Day is held on June 30 each year to mark the date of Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event.
As they orbit the Sun, NEOs can occasionally approach close to Earth
“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 in our history and the role they play in the solar system.
“In 2016, with the leadership of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), the United Nations declared Asteroid Day to be a global day of education to raise awareness and promote knowledge in the general public about asteroids.
“Major events in past years have taken place in London, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Tanzania, Milan and Rimini, Italy; Garching, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; in addition to thousands of events worldwide.”
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To get involved in the action, simply visit the Virtual Telescope Project at midnight BST on July 1 (July 30, 11.00 UT).
Surprisingly, no asteroid will reportedly fly anywhere near Earth on Tuesday.
An asteroid named 2020 JX1, made a relatively close approach on Monday.
And another asteroid called 2019 AC3 will also perform a flyby tomorrow, Wednesday, July 1.
However, today, June 30, will be unusually free of asteroid threats.
The asteroids with the theoretically highest risk of hitting Earth this year is scheduled to make its close approach on November 2.
Fortunately, there is only one in 193 chance the space rock will actually crash into the planet.
In further good news, the asteroid is also relatively small measuring only 8ft (2.4m) across.
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This means although Asteroid 2018VP1 is on the risk list, the space rock is not on European Space Agency’s (ESA) priority list.
The asteroid that has the highest likelihood of hitting Earth is the foreseeable future is 2010RF12, according to the ESA.
There is an approximate one in fourteen chance this asteroid could crash into the planet when it makes its close approach on September 5, 2095.
The asteroid is only 30ft (9m) in diameter, meaning it poses no real threat to the future of life on the planet.
However, the ensuing impact could still be devastating depending on where it lands or explodes.
According to NASA, dozens of NEOs fly harmlessly by every month within a distance of approximately 0.05 Astronomical Units (AU) of Earth – that is more than 4.64 million miles.
However, NASA’s asteroid trackers list the flybys as “close approaches” and chart out their trajectories as far as 200 years into the future.
All of the asteroids listed by NASA’s database have already been deemed safe.
US-based space agency NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, NEOs can occasionally approach close to Earth.
“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”
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