189 countries celebrated this year the third version of the International Asteroid Day. As every year, Chile played a leading role among the 15 participating institutions throughout our country to educate and raise awareness about the potential danger that asteroids represent for our planet.
This 2017, MAS was named local coordinator of this event in Chile. This gave a special context to carry out a series of activities in different parts of the Santiago and other cities like Concepción, Antofagasta, Papudo, Peine and Valdivia. One of these activities was the premiere in Chile (in Santiago, Concepción and Antofagasta) of the Discovery Channel’s documentary: “Man vs. Asteroid;” plus a series of talks, among them, Alejandro Clocchiatti’s talk at USACH’s Planetarium. He is an Associate Researcher of MAS and IAUC, and the main driver of this celebration in Chile.
“Why are we here?” was the name of his talk, where the scientist got the chance to discuss about asteroids with the audience. Also the award ceremony for the Second Contest of Short Stories took place at the Planetarium. After going through almost 200 short stories written by primary and secondary students from different cities, Anahys Urrutia, primary student from Escuela Palestina de Palomares in Concepción, and Dylan Oteiza, secondary student from Instituto Nacional in Santiago won the two categories respectively, taking home a Galileoscope kit to start their first astronomical observations.
Alejandro Clocchiatti also participated in the 24hrs. live streaming that the international organization of Asteroid Day broadcasted during the celebrations in Luxemburg; also other agencies that participated in this streaming were The European Space Agency (ESA,) The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA.)
Another great activity carried out that day was a visit of MAS and AIUC Geologist, Millarca Valenzuela, to the community of Peine, where they all went to explore and learn more about the Monturaqui Crater (Peine, Antofagasta,) the only confirmed asteroid impact in national territory and one of the few confirmed in South America.
We also want to highlight the UDP Astronomy Nucleus’ activities with Children with visual impairment in La Cisterna, the Live Twitter organized by ALMA Observatory, different talks like “Asteroids, space travelers” at Casa Central Campus of Universidad de Chile and “Asteroids: Witnesses of our Solar System formation” in Quinta normal; among other activities.
The institutions that participated along with MAS on this day were the Institute of Astrophysics of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Department of Astronomy of Universidad de Chile, Department of Astronomy of Universidad Andrés Bello, Astronomy Nucleus of Universidad Diego Portales, Department of Astronomy of Universidad de Concepción, Astronomy Unit of Universidad de Antofagasta, Institute of Astronomy of Universidad Católica de Antofagasta, Institute of Earth Sciences of Universidad Austral de Chile, Center for Excellence in Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA,) the Planetarium of Universidad de Santiago, Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM,) European Southern Observatory (ESO,) ALMA Observatory and the Chilean Geological Society.