Over the next several weeks, our planet will have a close encounter with the Taurid meteor swarm. It will be the closest that we have been to the center of the meteor swarm since 1975, and we won't have an encounter this close again until 2032. So for astronomers, this is a really big deal. And hopefully there will be no danger to Earth during this pass, but some scientists are absolutely convinced that the Tunguska explosion of 1908 which flattened 80 million trees in Russia was caused by an object from the Taurid meteor swarm. As you will see below, the last week of June will mark the point when we are the closest to the center of the meteor swarm, and so that will be when the risk is the greatest. According to CBS News, our planet "will approach within 30,000,000 km of the center of the Taurid swarm" by the end of this month:
This summer, Earth will approach within 30,000,000 km of the center of the Taurid swarm, the study says. That would be Earth's closest encounter with the swarm since 1975 and the best viewing opportunity we'll have until the early 2030s.
30 million kilometers may sound like a great distance, but in astronomical terms that is not very far at all, and it is important to remember that distance is measured from the exact center of the meteor swarm.
And there are some scientists that are convinced that giant rocks from this meteor swarm have been responsible for multiple "once-per-1,000-years catastrophic events on Earth" in the past.
If you are not familiar with the Tunguska event, here is some excellent information about it from Wikipedia:
Early estimates of the energy of the air burst range from 10–15 megatons of TNT (42–63 petajoules) to 30 megatons of TNT (130 PJ), depending on the exact height of burst estimated when the scaling-laws from the effects of nuclear weapons are employed.However, modern supercomputer calculations that include the effect of the object's momentum find that more of the energy was focused downward than would be the case from a nuclear explosion and estimate that the airburst had an energy range from 3 to 5 megatons of TNT (13 to 21 PJ).
The 15-megaton (Mt) estimate represents an energy about 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bombdropped on Hiroshima, Japan—roughly equal to that of the United States' Castle Bravo(15.2 Mt) ground-based thermonuclear detonation on 1 March 1954, and about one-third that of the Soviet Union's Tsar Bombaexplosion on Oct. 30,1961 (which, at 50 Mt, is the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated).
It is estimated that the Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km2 (830 sq. mi.), and that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter magnitude scale.