IAC scientists Julia de León and Miquel Serra-Ricart will participate in this world-wide activity with a range of outreach activities whose aim is to explain how research into these these objects is performed, and to warn the population about the danger they pose for Earth.
The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) will join, tomorrow, June 30th, in "Asteroid Day". In this initiative, announced last year by the United Nations Organization (UN), research centres, observatories and universities throughout the world will be involved in outreach artivities with the aim of raising public consciousness about the danger of asteroid impacts and to raise the profile of research into asteroids.
This year Julia de León, a researcher at the IAC and a specialist in the characterization of both nearby asteroids and those of the main Asteroid Belt, as well as a scientist on the Nasa mission OSIRIS-REx for the study of an old astroid, will participate in "Asteroid Day Live". For 24 hours a number of specialist panels, with astronauts, astronomers, other scientists, and special guests, will make live connections from agencies in different parts of the world (JAXA, NASA; ESA, and Luxembourg) and will offer commentaries on asteroid research. Julia de León will take part from Luxembourg in the panel led by the physicist and popularizer on the BBC Brian Cox, and the general public will be able to participate askin question in real time via the social networks.
Miquel Serra-Ricart, another IAC researcher, expert in asteroids and other Solar System objects, as well as manager of the Teide Observatory (Izaña, Tenerife), will take part in a free activity for the general public in the Planetarium of Castellon. During the day there wil be five lecturers, who will make up a panel to answer questions put to them by the public. Miquel Serra-Ricart will present "Cazasteroides", an app for cellphones which will allow people to detect asteroids from images obtained with telescopes, and to collaborate in monitoring of these objects by the public. It has been designed by the IAC and the Polytehcnic University of Madrid.(UPM), and funded by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT, of the Ministry of Economics, Industry, and Competitivity.
Last year the United Nations announced that June 30th would be "Asteroid ¨Day" in memory of the Tunguska event, when an asteroid crashed into the atmospehre in 1908, causing a powerful explosion which devastated wide areas of forest in Sibera (Russia). "Asteroid Day" is being supported bny scientists (including several Nobel laureates) artists, and well known organizations such as the Royal Astronomical Society (of London), the European Space Agency (ESA), Astronomers without Borders, th California Academy of Science, the Space Foundation, and the Virtual Telescope project, among others.