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Video Showing Half a Million Asteroid Discoveries

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the final-frontier dept.

Space 154

An anonymous reader writes "Since 1980 over a half million asteroids have been discovered, mostly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, now thanks to this video you can see this activity condensed into a few minutes. At full resolution it's a mesmerizing experience as new discoveries are added and the video makes it possible to see patterns in the discovery positions, for example a large number appear in line between Earth and Jupiter as astronomers started looking for smaller jovian moons after Voyagers visit to the system."

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154 comments

frost pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33381598)

first post

dizzy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33381600)

Anybody else getting dizzy?

Cheers, astronomers! (5, Funny)

Aussenseiter (1241842) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381606)

Celebrating 30 years of counting rocks in space. Here's looking at you, kid.

"That's some mighty fine science, Lou." (0, Redundant)

reverendbeer (1496637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381614)

Since 1980 over a half million asteroids have been discovered, mostly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter

Between Mars and Jupiter, huh? You mean right where the asteroid belt [wikipedia.org] is? And there are asteroids in it? Wow.

Re:"That's some mighty fine science, Lou." (4, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382456)

Well you see as a marine biologist I thought it would be really ground breaking if I looked for a new species of fish living in the Gobi Desert. After a lifetime of work I'm sorry to say that there just appear to be no fish living in the Gobi Desert. I know I could have taken the easy route and actually tried to study fish in bodies of water, but that would have been so cliche.

what's the green shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33381622)

?? :/

Re:what's the green shit? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381834)

Greeh cheese. Remember how the moon is made of it?
Presumably these asteroids were originally a moon which suffered a cataclysmic event in the distant past.

Re:what's the green shit? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381836)

Asteroids.

Re:what's the green shit? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382558)

Dewd! Look at all that Arkanor!! - Man the Hulks!!

- Dan.

Re:what's the green shit? (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382270)

Ass teroids, apparently. If they are indeed shit.

I see you! (1, Offtopic)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381636)

I removed the One ring, why does Sauron still taunt me?

Re:I see you! (0, Offtopic)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381936)

At the end of the video this swirling image looks like the seething eye of Sauron. Definitely not offtopic!

Re:I see you! (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382068)

One Sun to rule them all, One Sun to find them,
One Sun to bring them all and with its gravity bind them
In the Solar System where the asteroids fly.

Re:I see you! (3, Funny)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382226)

Ehm, you mean:
One Oracle to rule them all, One Oracle to find them,
One Oracle to bring them all and with its gravity bind them
In the Oracular System where the asteroids fly.

Needs a caption (0)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381638)

Is there a caption or story behind this ? I have worked on asteroids, and I have no real idea what is being portrayed.

My guess is that they are actually showing observations, not discoveries, as the flashing dots seem to be mostly in opposition, but a description would be useful.

Re:Needs a caption (0)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381678)

Oh, and there is a difference between "smaller jovian moons" (which would all be indistinguishable from Jupiter on this scale) and the Trojan asteroids (which are all more or less at Jupiter's orbital radius, and a good 3-6 AU from Jupiter, not "between Earth and Jupiter." There have been a lot of Trojans found recently.

Re:Needs a caption (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381916)

Oh, and there is a difference between "smaller jovian moons" (which would all be indistinguishable from Jupiter on this scale) and the Trojan asteroids (which are all more or less at Jupiter's orbital radius, and a good 3-6 AU from Jupiter, not "between Earth and Jupiter." There have been a lot of Trojans found recently.

Right, which is why one would expect that if astronomers were pointing their telescopes at Jupiter in order to find new Jovian moons, they'd be likely to find asteroids between earth and Jupiter in the main asteroid belt, which is what the summary says, and the video seems to bear it out.

Re:Needs a caption (2, Informative)

michaelwv (1371157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381728)

Discoveries are observations. Most discoveries are near opposition. It's only for special reasons that some surveys have been looking in other directions: either things like WISE that are in the infrared and so have special restrictions about where they can point, or targeted searches for near-Earth objects. In you click on the video you can read all about it in the caption. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_d-gs0WoUw [youtube.com]

Re:Needs a caption (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381740)

Is there a caption or story behind this ? I have worked on asteroids, and I have no real idea what is being portrayed.

Double-click on the video to reach the YouTube page. To the right of the summary (left of the number of views) is a down-chevron icon. Click on that for the full description.

Re:Needs a caption (2, Informative)

jdgreen7 (524066) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381910)

Double-click on the video to reach the YouTube page. To the right of the summary (left of the number of views) is a down-chevron icon. Click on that for the full description.

Or, just copy and paste that description here:

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.

Re:Needs a caption (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381742)

Its not that hard to understand, right?
Otherwise, if you are really dense you could have read the video descriptions:

Flashing points are discovery events, the rest are the orbits of the known objects.
And of course discoveries _require_ and observation (more than one, but that doesnt matter on that time scale). They even explain the reason for the patterns.

Re:Needs a caption (-1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381858)

I have read the video description (which could have been put in the posting) and I have viewed the video in HD. I don't think it's correct. I don't see any Jupiter trojans (and lots have been found), there are no dates, the major planets are green, just like the asteroids, and the green band doesn't start until way into the video (it should have started building up almost immediately; most asteroid orbits are confirmed rapidly).

If I was reviewing this for publications, they would probably have to redo it.

Re:Needs a caption (3, Informative)

PatHMV (701344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382254)

The green color for asteroids does NOT indicate that the orbit has been "confirmed." It indicates that the orbit never crosses or approaches the Earth's orbit. And the green color for the planets as well as some of the asteroids hardly causes real confusion in watching, as the planets have their orbits permanently displayed with circles.

I think you need to watch the video again, in 1080p resolution. It DOES show plenty of Jupiter trojans, but they don't stand out as much because not as many of those individual objects have been formally observed and catalogued (a requirement to be displayed in this particular video).

If you were reviewing this for publications, I hope you would read (and understand) the caption provided with it a bit more thoroughly, and watch the highest resolution version, before making your evaluation.

Re:Needs a caption (1, Insightful)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381766)

It does appear that the white pixels represent observations of objects for which a solid orbit has not been calculated. The colored pixels appear to be objects for which an orbit is known. You will note that during the last few seconds of the video that the density of "known" objects is high, and that few(er) new objects were being displayed.

Re:Needs a caption (1)

jidar (83795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381772)

Uh... so they see an asteroid, it pops up on the video and then continues in it's observed orbit. How is that observation not a discovery? What's the difference?

Re:Needs a caption (4, Funny)

mistralol (987952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381826)

You have worked on asteriods? Was the commute better than the average commute in china?

Re:Needs a caption (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381872)

Better than when I worked on Mars. Then I had to take the subway.

Re:Needs a caption (3, Funny)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381992)

He didnt really work on asteroids. I think the 'a' in asteroids was a typo on his behalf.

Re:Needs a caption (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33381830)

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.

Re:Needs a caption (2, Funny)

chanrobi (944359) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381850)

I have worked on asteroids,

Which one was that?

Re:Needs a caption (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382000)

I'm interested in the dynamic influence of all of the asteroids on spacecraft navigation and the celestial mechanics of the solar system. There are lots of asteroids that influence the orbit of Mars at the meter level, and lesser but still substantial numbers that significantly perturb the Earth and the other planets. Even the large Kuiper belt objects like MakeMake have a significant effect.

Re:Needs a caption (2, Funny)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383010)

The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.

Re:Needs a caption (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381912)

Nope, discoveries. They occur at opposition because that's the best time to do deep imagine of a patch of sky, of course.

There's a caption to this on the YouTube page for this video that highlights most of the patterns I noticed myself, including the advent of automated surveys in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Re:Needs a caption (1)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382008)

You worked on asteroids? Cool. What about other cellestial bodies. Did you ever work on Uranus?

Re:Needs a caption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382040)

What's a cellestial body?

Re:Needs a caption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382272)

Please, please, please don't say "Jessica Alba".

What sort of work? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382280)

Did you work as a miner? Shuttle pilot? What??

Re:Needs a caption (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382390)

Bruce? Is that you? I thought you died when you stayed behind to set off the nuclear device.

Cpt Obvious Observation (3, Interesting)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381680)

It's interesting how the video highlights the fact that the bulk of the asteroids seem to be discovered in a direction of the earth's orbit opposite the sun. Seems obvious when you think about it, but it really becomes apparent from watching the vid.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381966)

discovered in a direction of the earth's orbit opposite the sun

Yeah, we call that "nighttime" around here.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382058)

Brilliant! So you're assuming that all the discoveries have been made by people at night using telescopes. Oh, wait...we have these things called satellites around here.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382110)

In other news, most optical astronomy is done at night.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382262)

are you willing to point millions of dollars of technology to look directly to the sun to see a faint reflection.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382286)

Whether terrestrial or space-based, telescopes are generally going to be pointed away from the sun.

Plus the asteroids in opposition at any given point in time are also the ones closest to earth and thus easiest to see.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382586)

And they're the most "full" in phase, so that they are as bright as they'll ever get.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382310)

Even satellites can't see asteroids on the other side of the sun. Or through the Earth. That doesn't leave a lot of directions to look in...

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382590)

Also there's a strong correlation with wintertime in the northern hemisphere earlier in the video, but that gets washed out with what appears to be the advent of computers.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

advid.net (595837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382070)

If you watch the video at 3'01" the patern changes : discoveries are made on both "sides" of Earth ( read "sides" as if previous discoveries were made at front and sun were in rear position ). Does anyone has an explanation to this new patern ?

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382146)

That is interesting - I wonder if that was the activation of some new technology (Hubble?).

It's also interesting to note the "blind spots" that are created by Mars.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382370)

At 3:01, the data is from 2010, so it has to be preliminary data from WISE [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (4, Informative)

spacemandave (1231398) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382458)

That comes from the WISE mission: http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/mission.html [berkeley.edu] WISE is a whole sky infrared survey that happens to pick up asteroids. The spacecraft spins to survey a complete arc of sky roughly perpendicular to the Sun direction.

You'll also notice that during much of the 2000s, there is a gap in discoveries at about the 5 o'clock position. This corresponds to monsoon season in the southwest U.S. (roughly July to mid September). Most of the discovered asteroids in the past decade were made by the Catalina Sky Survey, based just outside of Tucson, AZ, and they generally don't bother observing during monsoon season because of the increase in cloud cover.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (2, Informative)

spacemandave (1231398) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382528)

You'll also notice that the discovery rate seems to "pulsate" with a period of about 12 times per year (this is most obvious in the 2000s when the discovery rate was mostly uniform throughout the year). I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to explain why that is (hint, skies need to be very dark to observe faint asteroids).

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (1)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382934)

You'll also notice that the discovery rate seems to "pulsate" with a period of about 12 times per year (this is most obvious in the 2000s when the discovery rate was mostly uniform throughout the year). I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to explain why that is (hint, skies need to be very dark to observe faint asteroids).

then why wouldn't it be 13 times per year?

I would guess that some of the data is submitted monthly and the tracts show when the data was submitted, not necessarily observed. there's also a lot of big pulses early on, far larger than the overall rate would see to indicate as within the normal deviation of observation rate at that point. hence, the thought that it's mapping based on submission date and some are submitting bulk results on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Re:Cpt Obvious Observation (2, Informative)

spacemandave (1231398) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383126)

then why wouldn't it be 13 times per year?

I would guess that some of the data is submitted monthly and the tracts show when the data was submitted, not necessarily observed. there's also a lot of big pulses early on, far larger than the overall rate would see to indicate as within the normal deviation of observation rate at that point. hence, the thought that it's mapping based on submission date and some are submitting bulk results on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Well, to an astrophysicist "roughly 12 times" is equivalent to 13 times, but your point is taken. I've sat in with the Catalina guys (on a nearly full moon night, so they didn't discover anything while I was there), and they don't wait to submit data. They send candidate objects to a followup telescope to confirm the discovery, then publish any object with the Minor Planet Center as soon as they are confirmed. They need to act quickly, because orbit refinements often rely on followup observations (often by amateur astronomers), and many objects, especially Near Earth Asteroids, could be lost if they are not followed up quickly. The big pulses in the discovery rates at early times are because objects were only discovered in sensitive surveys that were not run very frequently (and before the mid 1990s usually relied on photographic plates). After about 1997 once LINEAR got going (and later Catalina and a couple others) asteroid surveys have more or less been continuous, with lulls arising due to full moon nights and the weather patterns of southern Arizona and New Mexcio.

What about the trojans? (2, Interesting)

blcss (886739) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381684)

I'm wondering why I see no conspicuous clustering at the trojan points of Earth and Venus. Are asteroids there harder to detect?

Re:What about the trojans? (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381754)

There are no known Venus trojans, but they would be hard to detect from Earth. Messenger is looking for Mercury trojans, which should be dynamically stable (and even harder to detect from Earth). While the Earth has a handful of co-orbiting asteroids, I am not aware of any solidly confirmed Earth trojans. There are 4 known Mars trojans [wikipedia.org] .

None of these objects are of sufficient numbers to show in this video.

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382970)

Startling that many more specks appear in the range of Mercury to Mars in the last half. In grade school, I heard of the asteroid belt beyond Mars, but there is a lot lurking at one astronomical unit from the sun.

With so many pieces even as far as Jupiter one good bump could put the Earth in a collision course - is that enough incentive to do something?

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381854)

size of the planets as well as greater interferience from other nearby bodies reducing the stability of the lagrange points.

Re:What about the trojans? (2, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381938)

In addition to what mbone said, it's also the case that the terrestrial planets should have a much more difficult time capturing asteroids into their trojan points thanks to their smaller masses (and therefore shallower potential wells for the asteroids to get captured into).

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382138)

Very true. It's pretty mysterious why Mars should have any trojans at all, or if the ones it has are actually in stable orbits.

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382230)

Well, it's also farther from the Sun. I'd have to check the equations, but for orbits around the planet, at least, that affects things in a linear fashion. Plus, it's had a lot of opportunities to capture asteroids, particularly at lower relative speeds. Earth, Venus, and Mercury, have had a lot fewer.

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

saider (177166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383016)

It is closer to the asteroid belt, where collision debris can provide more potential objects to capture.

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382042)

I don't worry about trojans. I use Linux.

Re:What about the trojans? (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382808)

That's a risky strategy. While Linux is very effective at reducing sex and therefore unwanted pregnancies, it's not nearly as effective as a condom.

Planets? (2, Insightful)

sTc_morphius (948420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381750)

If the video is showing meteors in their orbits it appears that we might have to question the validity of calling Mars and Earth planets. It looks like neither planet really meet the guideline of "clearing its neighborhood"...

Re:Planets? (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381774)

The Earth, yes. Mars, no, not really, as you point out. You could consider Mars the largest asteroid.

Re:Planets? (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381926)

It's not about vacuuming the neighborhood (by that measure even Jupiter doesn't count), but whether or not the nearby debris is dominated by the gravitation of the body in question.

Re:Planets? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381954)

Also, there is something very wrong with saying "meteors in their orbits" (which just shows how much you are into all of this) - check for yourself what, it shouldn't take long.

Re:Planets? (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382222)

It looks like neither planet really meet the guideline of "clearing its neighborhood"...

Sure they have. It doesn't mean there can't be any other object in their orbit. Think of it in terms of ratios. Earth plus its moon, and Mars are both several orders of magnitude more massive than the sum of every other object in their orbits. Non-planets like Pluto or Ceres are several orders of magnitude less massive than the rest of the mass in their orbits.

Age of Discovery (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381756)

This past couple of decades has certainly been an age of discovery that equals if not surpasses a similar expansion of knowledge about the universe that happened in the 15th-18th Centuries when knowledge about new continents and islands became common place throughout most of the world. Most of us have been doing mundane things and living our lives, but this is certainly something that deserves note. More planets are also being discovered, including asteroid belts in other star systems as well.

What isn't being said here is how big some of these objects that are being discovered now: Most of the new objects being discovered are about the size of a house or sometimes even smaller. They really aren't all that large, even though if one of them hit your house it would make a bad day for you.

In a couple cases, there have been objects "rediscovered" that are suspected of being space junk left over from human exploration of space, such as spent stages from Saturn V rockets in solar orbit or other spacecraft that are not merely orbiting the Earth. What we will find out by doing a closer examination of these objects will be as interesting as anything else in human history, as at the moment most of this is merely discovering that something is there and not really understanding a whole lot about what it is that is moving around in that orbit. I suspect that the next several decades are going to be involved with cataloging and classifying these asteroids to understand what kind of resources are "out there".

Time (1)

oojah (113006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381790)

Nice, but it's just a shame there isn't a caption or something else to indicate how much time has passed... :)

Re:Time (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381862)

You mean like the little counter in the bottom left telling you what year it is? Can't tell if you're just being overly sarcastic here..

Re:Time (4, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381892)

Actually, you can't see that on the 4:3 cropped version linked into Slashdot, but if you go to the actual YouTube video [youtube.com] you can see the counters for the current year and the currently discovered number of asteroids.

Re:Time (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382014)

It is totally "teh awsum" at 1080p. I dug it out of my browser cache, renamed it to xx.flv, then slowed it down in VLC. Amazing. Can't wait until the WISE data gets added to this.

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382706)

I just used keepvid.com.

Re:Time (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383124)

I used Greasemonkey with the Youtube Video Download [userscripts.org] script. It embeds a button on the page and doesn't involve external sites. It's pretty handy if you watch/keep a lot of stuff on Youtube.

Osmos (1)

Elgonn (921934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381806)

Someone just faked that whole thing taking a fraps video of Osmos.

Gives me a cool idea... (5, Funny)

boneclinkz (1284458) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381860)

For a potential video game. You pilot a small spaceship, and your job is to shoot asteroids with your laser cannon as they appear. When an asteroid is hit, it breaks into several smaller asteroids. You then have to shoot those asteroids until they break up into asteroids so small that they are no longer a danger. If an asteroid impacts your spaceship, you die.

I think they should call it The Ship that Shoots a Laser Cannon.

Re:Gives me a cool idea... (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381998)

Just for grins why don't you make it have a third person point of view. It could also appear to be a old fashion radar screen with just green outlines...

Re:Gives me a cool idea... (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382062)

Lame name. How about " 'roid rage"?

Re:Gives me a cool idea... (1)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382338)

How about " 'roid rage"?

With a ship captain named Preparation H

Re:Gives me a cool idea... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382702)

Oooh! And then you could have a CPA in a Ford rental drive past every few minutes you have to shoot before he bean counts all your asteroids and audits you. Or, maybe something more contextual.

Re:Gives me a cool idea... (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382978)

You might be joking but i would play a game that somehow fetches data from some public NASA server. Caches it and then fiddles with the scales so as not to make it too boring. And then you shoot those.

Cool. And Scary. (2, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381870)

Watching that video is incredibly cool and the geek in my is really impressed with it on many levels. I must admit, however, I also find it kinda scary. I guess ignorance is bliss - I know that there are a ton of rocks floating around out there but seeing it graphically presented like that just makes me think it's damn lucky we haven't be pulverized into the stone age...

I'm going to focus, instead, on just how cool it was because, really, it was damn cool.

Re:Cool. And Scary. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382204)

I know that there are a ton of rocks floating around out there

A lot more than a ton. If you put all the rocks in the asteroid belt together you'd probably have a new planet. The asteroid Ceres [wikipedia.org] is called a "dwarf planet" in wikipedia. The protoplanet Vesta [wikipedia.org] is 530 km in diameter.

Re:Cool. And Scary. (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382430)

Yeah, you'd probably get a planet, but not a very large one. From the wiki [wikipedia.org] :

The total mass of the asteroid belt is estimated to be 3.0×1021 to 3.6×1021 kilograms, which is just 4% of the Moon.

Re:Cool. And Scary. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382400)

"I must admit, however, I also find it kinda scary."

If it helps, at the real scale of the real solar system, those dots should probably be the size of an atom in your computer display.

Re:Cool. And Scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33382592)

Because of the scale they're using, the video is a little unrealistic. Yes, the Asteroid Belt is real, however I'm not losing any sleep over the fact that if a 'global killer' is spotted to intercept earth within the next decade, there's little we as humans can do about it. We sure as hell could try, but our prevelance for apathy and greed has made me cynical to think we could get our shit together in time.

Have a decent beer with dinner tonight, and sleep well. I plan to.

Re:Cool. And Scary. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382748)

Take comfort in the fact that the dots on the video are thousands, perhaps millions, times scale size for the space they are presented in.

Space is big, really big. Still a scary video, though.

Re:Cool. And Scary. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382980)

Yes, but even so, there's evidence that at least two major extinction events were caused by asteroid impacts here on Earth over the last billion years, most notably the K-T event. Because of the relative emptiness of space, these impacts don't happen very often, but it's been tens of millions of years since the last major impact, so it'd really suck if the next one were only a few decades away.

For the religious people out there: maybe God has been protecting us from these asteroids for a while, while we had no technology. Now that we do, and have no excuse for not being able to deal with these threats ourselves, perhaps he'll stop protecting us, to see if we can get our shit together in time to save ourselves. I'm not hopeful.

My God (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 3 years ago | (#33381942)

It's full of rocks!

Re:My God (1)

asnelt (1837090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382466)

Shit! All those asteroids. We are so screwed. We're all gonna die!

Next blink, 2012. (2, Funny)

xigxag (167441) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382396)

Lookie, you heathen scum! Creationism is vindicated! What's that you see glimmering by the end of the video? It's the eye of God!!! That proves He exists. Y'all scientists done hoist yerselves by your own atheistic little petards, aincha? Gaze into His ocular glory, that greenish, ominous, malevolent, downright wicked...hey wait a second, you're not fooling me, you used summa that false color tricknology to make Him look evil didn't ya?

Next time show us His true colors -- red, white and blue.

Re:Next blink, 2012. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383208)

I dunno, looked kinda meatball-shaped to me... I'm going to go to Church in full pirate regalia, just in case. Cover all my bases.

Creepy (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382486)

Very creepy...

Some notes From The Creator (5, Informative)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382614)

I hadn't quite finished this, I wanted to record a voiceover, but a friend submitted it before I was ready.

So essentially the video shows asteroids which are known, so in the early portions around 1980 we have less than 10,000 and by the start of this month we have over half a million. Asteroids are highlighted on discovery and within a second they fade to the colour appropriate to their orbit (Green, Yellow and Red), asteroids are usually observed intensely around discovery and once an orbit is determined observers can go back and follow up to refine the exact elements, I only show the discovery, not follow up measurements. This does mean that a number of the objects that are being plotted have orbits that may be so poorly determined that they are 'lost in space' because they were only observed for a short time and by the time people attempted to follow up they were lost.

At the start of the videos, the 1980's, CCD's weren't used for astronomy, photographic plates were the primary technology for imaging the sky, furthermore, there were no digital systems for identifying asteroids on these plates, so while many asteroids were no doubt imaged they were generally not of interest to the observers who were probably taking nice pictures of nebula or other photogenic phenomena. Many of the discoveries in the 1980's were still made visually by minor planet hunters who knew what they were looking for. One of the earliest 'bursts' in the video is most likely related to observations of Jupiter searching for new moons around the giant planet, they'd look for objects moving on the plates and then make an orbit determination to see if it was a moon, it's waaaaay cooler to find a moon since they're a rarer commodity, but if you merely find an asteroid at least you get a chance to name it.

By the time we get to the mid 1990's we start to see automated sky search programmes like LINEAR, LONEOS, Spacewatch and the Catalina Sky Survey and these are primarily searching for asteroids in opposition since they're closer to Earth and at peak brightness so you can see a discovery cluster radiating out from the Earth.

In the last 8 months you see WISE which is a satellite performing a full sky survey in the Infrared, its scans the sky at 90 degrees to the sun, so its discovery pattern is very distinctive.

Re:Some notes From The Creator (1)

meekg (30651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383014)

Oh blessed be Thou who is THE CREATOR. I am not worthy of your NOTES. What are those CCDs you speak of?

Asteroids do not concern me (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33382796)

Unless they're red

remnants of a planet? (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33383190)

There's lots of rocks out there. I wonder how much mass they all add up to. The theory in The Twelfth Planet ( http://www.amazon.com/12th-Planet-Earth-Chronicles-Book/dp/038039362X [amazon.com] ), which sounds a bit farfetched since the author states it is gathered from ancient tablets that were dictated to us by aliens, is something like: There was a big planet around where Earth is now. This 12th planet (Moon, Sun + Pluto also being 'planets') with a 3600-year orbit came into our solar system and came really close to it. I think the moon split off from it, then another moon, which shattered to become this asteroid belt, and what was left (with the modified orbit) was Earth. Other pieces that broke off from the planet were flung away and became comets. This is all from memory, so it might not be accurate. Interesting theory, though.
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