Report by Astrofisica
The first international Asteroid Day was celebrated with at least 70 different activities around the globe, and our country was part of this bug celebration.
More than 700 people enjoyed talks and workshops organized by nine national institutions, led by The Millennium Institute of Astrophysics MAS and The Astrophysics Institute IA of The Catholic University.
The activities in Santiago, Valparaíso and Concepción included talks given by astrophysicists and for the general public; workshops for Primary and Secondary students; and the premiere of the film “51º North”, which inspired the execution of this worldwide celebration.
“This first Asteroid Day is great news, since a big community of astrophysicists, astronomers, astronauts, cosmonauts and even filmmakers gathered to raise awareness about the need of studying Asteroids. Even though, the possibilities to get hit by an asteroid are really low, if we don’t pay attention to any sign in a long time we might not be ready for this kind of scenario. We need to study asteroids now, because if we at least known their orbit we can predict how dangerous they are for us on Earth.” Explains Alejandro Clocchiatti, MAS Associate Researcher and forefather of this celebration in Chile.
For Dante Minniti, MAS Deputy Director and UNAB Professor, who gave the “Colisiones Cósmicas” lecture at La Casona Campus of this University, this celebration doesn’t want to alarm people, but educate them about this important issue that they need to be aware of.
“Obviously, people of Santiago are more worried about the air quality, if they are going to have to leave their cars at home tomorrow due to the air pollution. Nevertheless, we also need to be worried about possible risks we might face in the future, like a collision of an asteroid with the Earth. We are constantly hit by these little rocks coming from space, but the majority of them are so little that they disintegrate by the time they reach our atmosphere. Statistically, we know our chances to get hit by an asteroid and face a major disaster are low, but we also need to know that we have just started to study asteroids, therefore we still have to learn a lot more about them, since that’s the only way to be ready in this case scenario.” States.
The first Asteroid Day in Chile was organized by The Millennium Institute of Astrophysics MAS and The Institute of Astrophysics of The Catholic University of Chile (IA) along with the Astronomy Department of Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Concepción and Universidad Andrés Bello, The Institute of Astrophysics of Universidad de Valparaíso, The Astronomy Nuclei of Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago Planetarium and The Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM).