Western celebrates Asteroid Day with free public event at Cronyn Observatory

An artist/s impression of a rocky and water-rich asteroid being torn apart by the strong gravity of the white dwarf star GD 61. File/Mark A. Garlick,, University of Warwick and University of Cambridge

It’s Asteroid Day around the globe and here in London, Western University is celebrating by hosting a special event at the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory.

The free public event runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday with something geared towards astronomy enthusiasts of all ages.

READ MORE: NASA plans mission to a metal-rich asteroid worth quadrillions

Visitors will be able to hold a meteorite, learn all about asteroids and observe the sun through a special solar telescope — weather permitting.

“Two asteroid experts, Dr. Peter Brown and Dr. Paul Wiegert, will be talking about asteroid impacts, how they end up on earth and how hazardous they can be,” said Dr. Parshati Patel, outreach co-ordinator for the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at Western.

Brown will discuss asteroid impacts and hazards at 2:30 p.m., followed by Wiegert, who will talk about the search for asteroids at 3:30 p.m.

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There will also be a meteorite expert on site to analyse rocks.

“There have been inquiries in the past where people have found rocks that they think might be a meteorite because it fell on the ground and didn’t exist before,” said Patel.

READ MORE: Earthlings completely unprepared to deal with comet, asteroid strike

“People can bring in those rocks and have them looked at by the expert at today’s event.”

For more information on Friday’s event, visit the university’s website here.

Asteroid Day marks the largest impact in recent history, which was in Tunguska, Serbia in 1908, creating a blast that was estimated to be 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

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