If you’re suffering from one the many interminable troubles that plague your average entrepreneur — slow paying debtors, recalcitrant staff, feelings of isolation and loneliness (yes, it’s common) — sit back and sink into this digital representation of the earth and all the asteroids (that we know of), which are forever navigating our planet.
This video, created by Scott Manley, offers a view of the solar system showing the locations of all the asteroids located since 1980. As asteroids are discovered, they are added to the map and highlighted white so viewers can pick out the new ones.
The small green points mark the location of asteroids that don’t get near the earth’s orbit. The yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which astronomers call the Sun) are “Earth approaching asteroids”, also known as Amors, after the first one discovered.
Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be re-routed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit. There are now over 300 known objects on such orbits.
Finally, the red objects mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit (and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat to our planet). Included in this selection is the infamous asteroid, 1997XF11, which made world headlines in March 1997.
Observers, at the time, predicted that it had a good chance of colliding with the Earth in 2028. Thankfully, new observations were made and the newly calculated orbit predicts a close approach of about 600,000 kilometres.
Asteroid discoveries since 1980
Okay, you might not be feeling any better for watching this clip but suddenly your problems might not feel so grand, right? And if you’re still feeling mopey, there’s always Monty Python.