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International Asteroid Day, spreading awareness about asteroids and protecting us from possible impact

June 30 is observed as the International Asteroid Day to spread awareness of the dangers posed by asteroid impacts on Earth, promote research into identifying and tracking these objects and talk about protecting our planet from them. The United Nations decided on this date, which is the anniversary of the Siberian Tunguska event in 1908. This year is the first time that many different events are being planned across India on Asteroid Day and this page attempts to aid this effort by collecting national and international resource material for use by science communicators.

What are Asteroids?

Asteroids, or minor planets, are rocky bodies in our Solar System that originated from accretion as well as fragmentation processes from the time of the formation of planets. Most of them orbit the Sun in between Mars and Jupiter, though a number of them, called Near Earth Asteroids, come within the orbit of Mars. The largest of them, Ceres, was discovered in 1801 and is 945 km in diameter is now classified as a dwarf planet (along with Pluto). Asteroids range in size from dwarf planets down to a metre across. Many of these can pass close to a planet and crash into it (eg Shoemaker Levy 9 on Jupiter, the craters on the Moon and Mercury etc), including Earth. The Lonar Crater in Maharashtra, or the one in Arizona were caused by such impacts. Since an impact by a larger asteroid could devastate life of Earth (remember the dinosaurs!), astronomers are now engaged in searching for, tracking and studying every possible Near Earth Asteroid. The Asteroid Day is meant to highlight and promote this effort.

Animated pictures of Near Earth Asteroid Eros taken by NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft in 2000

International Asteroid Day Resource Page

The coordination for the International Asteroid Day is being done through this website. They will broadcasting a 24-hour live programme in June 30 featuring many renowned astronomers from across the globe.

They also have many ideas for you if you want to host your own local event, as well as resource material for you to download, like videos and answers to questions.

India-specific resources

We have put together a collection of India-specific resource below, for your use in your local event. Let us know if you would like to add something to the list.

Articles & books

In English

A popular book, Falling Stones and the secrets of the Universe by Narendra Bhandari of PRL (can be ordered from Gujarat Science Academy)

Ramanujan, Gokumenon and Bhattacharyya - asteroids discovered at the Vainu Bappu Observatory, Tamil Nadu

"Asteroids, asteroid discoveries and you", an article by N. Rathnasree

An article on the Asteroid Day by Rishabh Shukla in Research Matters

Learn more about the three largest impact craters in India - Lonar, Ramgarh and Dhala

A presentation, "Geological Wonder of Lonar Crater", by Sneha Rode (can be used for talks)

"Cosmic Hole at Lonar", an artcle by N. Bhandari, PRL

An article on Lonar Crater by Sneha Rode

A scanned copy of a booklet on the Lonar Crater (12 MB)

A scanned copy of an article on Lonar Crater by Ganesh and Vasudha Pangare (8 MB)

A ppt on Asteroids by Arvind Paranjpye

A popular article on Meteorite research in India by S.V.S. Murty of Physical Research Laboratory

An article on asteroids and meterorite falls in India by Goel, Mahajan and Murty of PRL

An article on the Katol meteorite fall in 2012 near Nagpur, by R.R. Mahajan and S.V.S. Murty of PRL


In other languages

An article in Malayalam by Siddharthan in Deshabhimani

An article in Marathi on the Lonar Crater by Sneha Rode

Scanned copies of newspaper articles on Lonar Crater in Marathi, thanks to P.K. Ghanekar (37 MB)

A Malayalam wikipedia article on Asteroids

An article in Tamil by T. V. Venkateswaran in Vikatan

A booklet in Hindi on meteorites by N. Bhandari, PRL

An article in Hindi on asteroids by Navneet Gupta

An article in Bengali by Manun Khandaker

The wikipedia page in Bengali on Asteroids

A newspaper article in Gujarathi on meteorites

Other resources

Asteroids and the domain of Jupiter, a film in Hindi by Vigyan Prasar (they have limited DVD copies available if requested, also in English)

The first asteroids discovered from India were by Normal Pogson, from the Madras Observatory, viz., Asia, Sappho, Sylvia, Camilla, Vera.

The next asteroid to be discovered from India was 104 years later, viz., Ramanujan

Do you want to see an asteroid yourself? Of course, you would need a small telescope. This website will give you the locations, timings and star maps for the brightest asteroids, as seen from Nagpur. You can set your own location there instead.

This website lets you know the night time asteroids visible from any location, oppositions/close approaches and even asteroid occultations

Zooniverse hosts a number of citizen science projects, especially in astronomy. Apart from these, there is the IASC, the International Asteroid Search Campaign, as well as the All India Asteroid Search Campaign

All asteroid discoveries, confirmation, orbit tracking and follow-up are coordinated by IAU's Minor Planet Centre

There are many dedicated surveys carried out by many observatories to detect asteroids, especially Near Earth ones that could pose a danger to us, for example, LINEAR, Pan-STARRS, LONEOS, NEAT.

And there are so many games where you can shoot down asteroids! Or help scientists explore asteroids

For news reports in India, see

Asteroid Day events in India

These are events hosted by various groups in India on June 30th. We strongly encourage you to organise one in your area. It could be a lecture, a film screening, screening of the 24-hr live broadcast, etc. We hope that the resources listed in and linked from this website are helpful.
(If you are organising an event not listed here, please let us know)

  • New Delhi
    Nehru Planetarium. Interactive sky theatre session (of the Indian asteroid discoveries), skype talk by experts, panel discussion with student discoverers. Organised by Nehru Planetarium and SPACE. More details here

  • Mumbai
    Nehru Planetarium. Meteorite samples for display and a livestream talk here

  • Bengaluru
    Jawarharlal Nehru Planetarium. Rare exhibition of meteorites, poster exhibition and popular lectures (limited seats for lectures, register early). More details here

  • Srinagar
    Moonland School, Pakherpora, Charari Sharief. Quiz, movie show, model making, presentations. Organised by Ibn Al-Haytham Science Club (alhaythamclub@gmail.com, 01951-253030)

  • Chennai
    D.G. Vaishnav College. Book reading and film screening

  • Bhubaneswar (29 June)
    SOS Bhubaneswar. Quiz programme, film screening, talk. Open to all (call 9861576405 for more details)

  • Bhubaneswar
    Miracle Tutorial, Dumuduma. Quiz programme, film screening, talk. Open to all (call 9861576405 for more details)

  • Trichy
    Syed Mudusha Govt High School. Poster exhibition, organised by Trichy District Science Centre

  • Vellore
    Mount Litera Zee School, Veduganthangal. A day of talks and drawing competitions, organised by Audacious Dreams Science Network

  • Puducherry
    10 different schools, organised by Puducherry Science Forum. For more details see here

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