video: Minor Planet discoveries

Recommended: a time-lapse video of minor planets (asteroids) as they are discovered over the past 30 years or so. This new one is updated to mid-2011.

Watch it in the highest resolution your PC will allow. Now, here’s the link!: Turn off the music if you don’t care for it. This video compresses 30 years into about 3 minutes; it might be easier to follow details of the 7-minute version:

Notice 3 things as you watch:

  • Discoveries (flashing in white) follow the earth around its orbit. You can’t discover distant rocks in broad daylight!
  • There are more discoveries in northern winter (top of screen) than in northern summer (bottom of screen).
  • Discoveries tend to “pulse” 12-13 times per year, especially in later years when we’re looking for fainter and fainter objects. You can only see them on nights near the new moon.

video: Our Place in the Cosmos

Highly recommended: a recent presentation given on the Google campus by Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta of UC Santa Cruz.

It runs an hour and a quarter, but it’s so packed with interesting ideas, pictures, and simulation videos of galaxy collisions, etc that you don’t notice the time. Give up that Seinfeld rerun and give it a try. Google Tech Talk videos like this one are offered in several resolutions to match your PC and web connection speed–use 720 HighDef if you can. Just make sure you view it full-screen.

Here’s the link!: Our Place in the Cosmos