NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark – Asteroid Day 2017

Overview of this year’s Asteroid Day Events in Denmark, supported by the NEOShield-2 project

Written by Jordi S. Forteza, NEOShield-2 outreach agent. Reviewed by Dr. Morten Bo Madsen (Niels Bohr Institute) & Dr. Line Drube (NEOShield-2 & German Aerospace Center – DLR) & Tina Ibsen (Head of Science & Outreach, Tycho Brahe Planetarium).

Special thanks to SNU (“Selskabet for Naturlærens Udbredelse”), the Danish Association for the Advancement of Natural Sciences, founded by H.C. Ørsted in 1824. Their kind help, advertising efforts, arrangement of the venue, caretaking of the guests & settlement of the lectures, were key factors for the good course of the lectures, as well as the meteorite exhibition at the Geology Museum.

This year’s events about asteroid science & the threat imposed by them, were held in two different locations in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, doubling the number of events from last year.

The first event was a warm-up for Asteroid Day, as because it was held on the 2nd of March. It was an hour long talk about “Asteroids, impact threat & the potential applications of Asteroids”. This talk was given by amateur astronomer Jordi S. Forteza, and was held at the Round Tower (“Runde Tårn”) in Copenhagen. The materials used for this talk were developed by some professionals from the Space sector such as, the NEOShield-2 project & the Space Resources Initiative, as well as by Eric J. Christensen, Director of the Catalina Sky Survey (University of Arizona). The Round Tower reflects a lot of astronomical history in Denmark, and it has the oldest working observatory in Europe at its roof as well. The event was organised by KAF (“Københavns Astronomiske Forening”), The Astronomical Association of Copenhagen. It was a closed event for its members only. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken or video was recorded. Despite of that, it was a good event, where 17 people attended and many interesting questions were addressed.

The second event this year was held at the Geology Museum of Copenhagen. This museum is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, and it is owned by the University of Copenhagen. This event also took place on June 30th, and was organised by SNU (“Selskabet for Naturlærens Udbredelse”), the Danish Association for the Advancement of Natural Sciences. The instigators of this event where the danish planetary scientist Dr. Line Drube (NEOShield-2, German Aerospace Center – DLR) & amateur astronomer Jordi S. Forteza (NEOShield-2 outreach agent). This event was a good ending for this year’s events, both by means of number of participants and by means of apparent satisfaction from an audience of 100 attendees.

The audience was composed by citizens of Copenhagen, university students, as well as by danish scientists and engineers from the Space sector.

NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark Asteroid Day 2017

The audience of 100 interested and inquisitive minds.

NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark Asteroid Day 2017

Dr. Morten Bo Madsen from the Niels Bohr Institute capturing the attention of the audiences, while explaining interesting facts about the World’s largest iron meteorite slice.

NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark Asteroid Day 2017

Dr. Line Drube from DLR to the left, Dr. Morten Bo Madsen from the Niels Bohr Institute in the middle and Jordi Forteza from Asteroid Day Denmark to the right, after an evening of lectures and guided tours.

Talks of 2017

Introduction to the International Asteroid Day. – Jordi S. Forteza, regional coordinator for Asteroid Day Denmark.

NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark Asteroid Day 2017

Jordi Forteza from Asteroid Day Denmark talking about his work as an amateur astronomer, during his introduction to and explanation of the International Asteroid Day.

New Giant Impact Crater found in Northern Greenland. – Dr. Kurt H. Kjær, professor & Director af Science at The Natural History Museum of Denmark.

NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark Asteroid Day 2017

Dr. Kurt Kjær from the National History Museum of Denmark, during his talk about a possible giant crater found in Northern Greenland.

Kurt Kjær presented the results from his intensive study of a possible giant crater found in Northern Greenland. His study is currently under peer-review for a major scientific journal, so no further information about this interesting work can be published at the moment.

What are asteroids & how can we defend ourselves against them? Dr. Line Drube, Planetary Scientist from the NEOShield-2 project, German Aerospace Center – DLR.

NEOShield-2 Agent Denmark Asteroid Day 2017

Dr. Line Drube from DLR, during her talk about asteroids and how space missions can deflect asteroids on collision course with Earth.

Line Drube presented interesting facts about the ways humankind can defend itself from asteroid impacts of different types, as well as about the physics involved in a possible asteroid deflection mission. Line is also a member of the United Nations Space Mission Advisory Group, and she talked about her work as a scientist with space/international lawyers in regard to the legal issues with planetary defence missions.

All in all, we are very proud and happy to see that all events were well received by the public, and that the interest was apparently high every time! Two talks from the last event were video-recorded. The one from Jordi and the other one from Line are now available on the “Dansk Videnskab” channel on YouTube [danish only].

Fun fact

This year’s Asteroid Day event at the Geology Museum, would probably never have happened without an asteroid naming attempt, that was cancelled!

It was late March 2017 and Jordi Forteza was thinking about naming an asteroid. The asteroid in question was one, that he helped discover during the time when he was a very active amateur astronomer, back in Mallorca in 2003. After some time thinking about it, he finally decided the naming should honour the Danish asteroid scientist Dr. Line Drube, hoping that it might also attract attention towards Asteroid Day in Denmark. After starting the naming process he however received a message from a senior scientist at the Planetary Research Institute at DLR, who kindly asked Jordi to withdraw the proposal, as he and some colleagues wanted to be the ones to surprise her with an asteroid, and they had already also started the naming process. In May 2017 the 3 km large asteroid (11262 Drube) was announced, and Line learned that not only one group, but two had been in the process of trying to name an asteroid for her. She felt lucky and flattered to hear it, and decided to thank Jordi for his attempt by offering to organize an Asteroid Day event with him this year and using her network to do it. So almost all what you have just read, was the result of this “failed” naming attempt.

Have a great day…
…and fly safe as crew-members of spaceship Earth!

Kind regards,

Jordi S. Forteza
NEOShield-2 Agent and Asteroid Day Denmark


About the author: VR