Asteroids and Sounds from Space
The above image, brought to us by the very cool folks at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, is an up-to-date map of our inner solar system. The map displays the orbits of the 4 terrestrial planets in our system, with the Earth’s orbit being highlighted in bright blue — because we think it’s kinda special.
In this image, the small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. (This is subject to change.) The yellow objects are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth without actually crossing the Earth’s orbit. Their orbits are, however, close enough that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets. (There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.)
And the red boxes? These mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These asteroids DO cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future. Keep in mind, this is a current map — updated daily. It shows the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. Astronomers at Armagh remind us, however, that even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a Earth-approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. It’s estimated that there are perhaps 100,000 to 1,000,000 undiscovered asteroids on similar Earth crossing orbits.
If NASA never deflects
#2012DA14 and it hits Earth one day, we’ll confirm that humans possess a lethal absence of foresight. - Tweeted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Feb 15, 2013.
And, to help us wash the not entirely uncool taste of asteroid from our mouths, and for anyone who missed this, here’s the first ever space-to-earth musical collaboration! Featuring Canadian Space Agency astronaut, and Expedition 34 flight engineer, Chris Hadfield, Barenaked Ladies, and Canada’s Wexford Gleeks choir, the song is titled I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing), and is VERY cool! Chris Hadfield, who will become Expedition 35′s commander next month, is quickly becoming a big-time hero in my eyes. If you’re not following him on twitter you’re missing some of the most incredible Earth-from-Space images EVER! Do we really need much more proof than this to know that the Canadians are SO much cooler than us Americans?!