The possibility of a devastating asteroid strike is now recognised to be a real danger to us all. In 2013 a near earth asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia, damaging buildings and injuring thousands of people. The asteroid was only 20 metres in diameter but exploded with a force 26 to 33 times as much as that released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima. Most of this energy was absorbed by the atmosphere and had the asteroid reached the ground before it exploded, the damage and injuries would have been significantly greater. This asteroid arrived without warning.
Scientists, astronauts and celebrities are coming together to raise the profile of the danger of a future asteroid strike and to call on world governments to take action now to prepare a defence. The first part of this defence pan is to identify and measure the positions and orbits of all near Earth objects so that future threats can be identified.
Dark Skies Tenerife supports this and we will be answering the call by contributing our time and equipment freely to the search for these near earth objects. This is an area where amateur astronomers can make an important contribution to protecting our planet and Tenerife’s clear skies makes it an ideal place to do this work. If you’re interested in getting involved, sign up to asteroid day or get in touch.