Watch Over 100,000 Asteroids Do Their Orbital Dance
Well, this is kind of terrifying but when 100,000 high speed asteroids look this good, who cares? Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Alex Parker created this incredible animation which maps the orbits and relative sizes of over 100,000 of our solar system's asteroids. The fruits of Parker's labors are both hypnotic and beautiful but they are also informative. Parker's 'painted stones' video highlights how the majority of the asteroids in our solar system actually belong to distinct families. It is estimated that there are at least 37 distinct asteroid families in our solar system, all made up of a unique collection elements and colors which are expertly displayed in Parker's video. These family groupings tell researchers about the history of these mysterious objects and it is thought that some of these asteroid families all descend from one, huge parent asteroid.
You can learn more about Parker's fascinating research on his website, but for now just sit back and admire just how busy our tiny little corner of the universe actually is.