Friday, August 27, 2010
I just finished a long plane ride so I'm a bit out of sorts, but a post embedding a video is easy. Take a look at this video uploaded yesterday showing the known asteroids in the Solar System in 1980 compared to 2010 as they continue to be discovered and grow in number.
One area where we still have a large blind spot is asteroids closer to the Sun than the Earth, as they tend to be obscured by their proximity to the Sun and if they are small then they may avoid detection even after moving out of the Sun's glare and past the Earth. That's why we still end up with near-Earth asteroids that we learn about only a few days or hours before closest approach. The solution to this is a probe that orbits the Sun in an orbit closer than ours, one that looks back at and nearby Earth where the reflected light from the Sun minus the glare (since the Sun is behind) makes them easy to spot.