Asteroids have always nudged our imagination and created curiosity in the world scientific community for years. Globally World Asteroid Day is marked on June 30, every year. It is one the United Nations-designated days to create awareness and educate people about asteroids. Today is the fourth edition of World Asteroid Day.
In December 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in order to "observe each year, at the international level, the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, on 30 June 1908, and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard." Tunguska is the largest asteroid, recorded in history, to impact the earth.
Asteroid Day: The founders
An interesting variety of people co-founded the World Asteroid Day; among them are scientist Stephen Hawking, filmmaker Grigorij Richters, B612 Foundation President, Danica Remy, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and Brian May, guitarist of rock band Queen and astrophysicist.
What is an asteroid?
Asteroids are rocky, small objects orbiting the Sun. There are many asteroids in our solar system and most of them are found in the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, known to be a lonely area.
Asteroids and the Earth
Many lakes in the world have been created as a result of asteroids impacting the earth's surface and creating craters. In India, the Lonar Lake in Maharashtra, which was recently in the news for 'turning pink' overnight is a crater lake created by an asteroid impact. Landsat 8 of NASA captured the 'pink' lake.
#Lonar Lake in Maharashtra, was created by an asteroid in Pleistocene Epoch. It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth. Something strange happened within few days here. The water turned into pink. Captured by Landsat 8 of @NASApic.twitter.com/v9wHj1EYPV— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) June 24, 2020
Space agencies of most countries like ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency), Roscosmos (Russia), ISRO (India) and NASA (USA) organise events on this day. Scientists and astronomers across the world reach out to educate common people on role of asteroids and meteors as there are several myths surrounding these cosmic bodies.