30 Years of Asteroids in 3 Minutes

This amaz­ing lit­tle video charts the loca­tion of every aster­oid dis­cov­ered since 1980. As we move into the 1990s, the rate of dis­cov­ery picks up quite dra­mat­i­cal­ly because we’re now work­ing with vast­ly improved sky scan­ning sys­tems. And that means that you will espe­cial­ly want to watch the sec­ond half of the video. Below the jump, I’ve past­ed some more infor­ma­tion that explains what you’re see­ing. Thanks to @WesAlwan and Mike for send­ing this great lit­tle clip our way.

via Giz­mo­do

“View of the solar sys­tem show­ing the loca­tions of all the aster­oids start­ing in 1980, as aster­oids are dis­cov­ered they are added to the map and high­light­ed white so you can pick out the new ones.

The final colour of an aster­oids indi­cates how close­ly it comes to the inner solar sys­tem.

Earth Crossers are Red

Earth Approach­ers (Per­i­he­lion less than 1.3AU) are Yel­low

All Oth­ers are Green

Notice now the pat­tern of dis­cov­ery fol­lows the Earth around its orbit, most dis­cov­er­ies are made in the region direct­ly oppo­site the Sun. You’ll also notice some clus­ters of dis­cov­er­ies on the line between Earth and Jupiter, these are the result of sur­veys look­ing for Jov­ian moons. Sim­i­lar clus­ters of dis­cov­er­ies can be tied to the oth­er out­er plan­ets, but those are not vis­i­ble in this video.

As the video moves into the mid 1990’s we see much high­er dis­cov­ery rates as auto­mat­ed sky scan­ning sys­tems come online. Most of the sur­veys are imag­ing the sky direct­ly oppo­site the sun and you’ll see a region of high dis­cov­ery rates aligned in this man­ner.

At the begin­ning of 2010 a new dis­cov­ery pat­tern becomes evi­dent, with dis­cov­ery zones in a line per­pen­dic­u­lar to the Sun-Earth vec­tor. These new obser­va­tions are the result of the WISE (Wide­field Infrared Sur­vey Explor­er) which is a space mis­sion that’s tasked with imag­ing the entire sky in infrared wave­lengths.

Cur­rent­ly we have observed over half a mil­lion minor plan­ets, and the dis­cov­ery rates snow no sign that we’re run­ning out of undis­cov­ered objects.”

This explana­to­ry text comes from this YouTube page.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.