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Asteroid Day

"The Moon is a ball of left-over debris from a cosmic collision that took place more than four billion years ago. A Mars-sized asteroid - one of the countless planetesimals that were frantically churning our solar system into existence - hit the infant Earth, bequeathing it a very large natural satellite."

~ Seth Shostak, American Astronomer

Asteroid Day marks the morning of June 30, 1908, when a massive explosion took place near the Stony Tunguska Eiver in Siberia, generally attributed to an air burst of a stony meteoroid about 100 meters in size. Though classified as an “impact event”, there is no known crater, but this event leveled a forested area of over 830 square miles! A similar smaller event is believed to have taken place over Russia in 2013. This tartan was designed to celebrate robotic and human science, and the exploration and outreach activities associated with the Moon or other airless bodies including asteroids, comets, Kuiper Belt Objects and others. Some asteroids even have orbiting moons of their own! This tartan's colours represent the following: Grey - for the minerals and rocks on airless bodies; White - the bold white line represents ice or salt deposits on some bodies such as icy comets or ice in the permanently shadowed craters of the Moon; Black - for the organic materials on comets, in lunar polar craters and other bodies; Green for life which will be eventually established on these bodies in the form of human exploration and settlement; Silver - for the future technological transformation of some of these bodies by human settlement and industry. Asteroid Vesta (shown here) is one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt and occasionally visible to the naked eye! Once named only after female mythological figures, asteroids naming now references almost every conceivable category of Science, Arts, and Entertainment. There are asteroid names and designations for characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle: 5048 Moriarty; 5049 Sherlock; and 5050 Doctorwatson as well as for every member of the British comedy team, Monty Python! Near Earth Objects (NEOs) pass safely by earth continually are tracked by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. In fact, several large asteroids will pass by in the next couple days at a safe distance, no less than 967,000 miles. Having dodged these, the current biggest known threat to Earth is an asteroid called (410777) 2009 FD, which has less than a 0.2% chance of hitting Earth in 2185, according to NASA. 🌑 ☄️

This tartan was designed on behalf of Charles Cockell, Professor of Astrobiology, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh to celebrate robotic and human science, exploration and outreach activities associated with the Moon or other airless bodies including asteroids, comets, Kuiper Belt Objects or other objects.

 

The tartan colours represent the following:  The grey background represents the minerals and rocks on airless bodies. The bold white line represents ice or salt deposits on some bodies, for example, icy comets or ice in the permanently shadowed craters of the Moon. The black line represents organic materials on comets, in lunar polar craters and other bodies. The green line represents life eventually established on these bodies in the form of human exploration and settlement. The silver line represents the future technological transformation of some of these bodies by human settlement and industry.


Many features of the moon are named after famous individuals.  Amongst others, several craters of the moon are named after Scottish scientists:  


  • The Neper crater is named after the Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer and astrologer John Napier.

  • The Mee crater is named after the 19th-century Scottish astronomer Arthur Butler Phillips Mee.

  • The Brewster crater is named after the Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster.

  • The Maxwell crater is named after the Scottish mathematical physicist James Clerk Maxwell.


For a full list of craters named after people, click asteroid Vesta!