Relative Positions Of Asteroids Near Earth

The image below is an up to date map showing the local space around the Earth in pseudo 3D. All the objects currently within 0.3 AU (45 Million kilometres) of the Earth are shown with the Earth at the centre. To represent the 3D nature of the positions every asteroid marked has its position projected onto the plane of the ecliptic (essentially the plane which the Earth's orbit lies in). So the asteroid sits at the top (or bottom) of the 'flagpole' and the base of the pole shows where they would appear to be on the larger map of near Earth objects. In addition, the motion over the next 24 hours is represented by lines at the top of the poles.

The Viewpoint is about 35 degrees away from the vertical and the scale is about 10 times more detailed than in the complete map of asteroids.

The asteroids are colour coded such that all yellow objects have perihelia inside the Earth's orbit while all the green objects have perihelion distances outside the Earth's orbit. Everything which appears on this map can be considered to be an Earth approaching asteroid. The red oval surrounding the earth represents 3.84 million kilometres (projected onto the plane). This is a distance equal to 10 Lunar distances. Any object currently inside this distance will be highlighted in red.

Map Showing Positions of Asteroids Near Earth

On a similar note I have a plan view of the solar system which shows the expected position of all known asteroids. The Asteroid elements are all taken from Ted Bowell's excellent online catalogue. All other software and text is Copyright 1998 - Scott Manley - Take a look at his home page.

While you're here you might want to take a look at Armagheddon ;-).

Last Revised: 2010 January 13th