Asteroid discoveries over past 30 years visualized

Posted to Maps  |  Nathan Yau

This animation by Scott Manley of the Armagh Observatory shows a beautiful view of the past 30 years of asteroid discoveries, using data culled by Ted Bowell and company.

As time passes, asteroids are highlighted white and then colored by how closely they come to our inner solar system. Earth crossers are red, Earth approachers are yellow, and all others are colored green.

What you get is a view of the solar system’s planets and asteroids orbiting the sun and these beautiful sparkles in sky. As automated sky scanning systems come online in the 1990s, we see waves of discoveries. Then starting at the beginning of 2010, we see a discovery pattern as a result of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which has been tasked with mapping all infrared light in the sky.

Watch the full video below.

[Thanks, Cay]

10 Comments

Favorites

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.