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Science and Ideas Group: Defending Earth: The Search for Dangerous Near-Earth Asteroids

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 3:00 PM until 4:30 PM
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When: Every 2nd Wednesday of the month, 3:00-4:30 pm

Where: Zoom

Meeting ID: 870 7696 1110
Passcode: 747526
One tap mobile +16699006833,,87076961110# US (San Jose)

Open to: All

Science and Ideas Group: Defending Earth: The Search for Dangerous Near-Earth Asteroids

Speaker: Gerald McKeegan Adjunct Astronomer, Chabot Space & Science Center

Every year, dozens of asteroids pass by the Earth closer than the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Although most are small and pass safely by the Earth, it is inevitable that some of these asteroids will strike the Earth, with the potential to do massive harm to both people and property. Sadly, nearly all of these near-miss asteroids are discovered within only hours or a few days of closest approach. Yet, with sufficient warning, it is actually possible to deflect a threatening asteroid, if they can be discovered and tracked far enough in advance. This talk will discuss the nature of the asteroid impact threat, and will focus on how astronomers search for and track near-Earth asteroids.

Gerald McKeegan is an astronomer at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California, where he also serves on the Board of Directors. McKeegan teaches astronomy at Chabot, hosts an online virtual telescope program, and appears frequently in TV and radio broadcasts, as well as print media, discussing astronomy and space current events. McKeegan holds a Master of Science Degree in Space Studies. He also has more than forty years experience working in the aerospace industry, primarily on spacecraft and launch vehicles. McKeegan is the Principal Investigator for Chabot’s Asteroid Tracking Program.