by February 19, 2013 0 comments

The image which you see above is indeed the best possible life-like reproduction of asteroid 2012 DA14 done in Celestia based on the data available to it. Celestia is a 3D cross-platform FOSS solution for astronomy enthusiasts that can simulate a majority of the known universe atleast as far as different types of objects are concerned. It is extremely feature-rich. For instance, based on the above image, if you turn around the camera and keep the time simulation fast enough, you will actually get a glimpse of how the asteroid would have passed by Earth. Not to a very accurate measure because Celestia cannot handle (as of yet) extremely close fly-bys such as this one in an accurate manner, but exciting enough to visualize.

Moving the simulation time past the above image, if you turn on orbit markers and labels, adjust the camera perspective and zoom out a bit, this is what you will get:

[image_library_tag 633/60633, alt=”The orbits” ,default] In this image, the blue line represents Earth’s orbit (which looks pretty straight because we are looking at a minor section of what the Earth goes through around the year), the red one is 2012 DA14’s orbit and interestingly, the cyan-coloured elliptical orbit is that of the moon.

Download Celestia for your platform from .Once installed, do not immediately run it. As of now, Celestia doesn’t contain the 2012 DA14 asteroid in it’s built-in set of objects to simulate. However, thankfully, Ulrich Dickmann has developed an add-on which you can get from which contains licensing information about how to use the add-on (it’s meant for private use only and any commercial use/public performance is prohibited), installation instructions for the add-on and also how to use it with Celestia, which will lead you to similar images as captured above.


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