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Time-Lapse Video of Asteroid Discoveries for the Past 30 Years


(Video Link)


This time-lapse video by YouTube user szyzyg shows asteroids in our solar system as they have been discovered since 1980:

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.


Astronomers have so far found about half a million minor planets in our solar system.

via Popular Science

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I a agree with DaveL! look at all that stuff that almost hits us! Of course this animation doesn't represent asteroid size but dang. It's a good thing we have Jupiter out there sweeping some of those things up
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