WATCH THIS: If you could see every asteroid, this is what the sky would look like
The sky at night is already a pretty breathtaking view, but there’s an awful lot you can’t see. Among them, asteroids.
Small and dark, they’re extremely difficult to see, but this new video from Scott Manley gives us an idea of how the sky would look with the 5,000 closest to Earth in full view.
Crowded would be one way to describe it, but it does make for an amazing spectacle. This a YouTube video even allows you to drag the view around so you can take in the whole sky, in all its well-lit glory. And the description says it supports “Cardboard-compatible viewers” for full immersion.
There are estimated to be more than 12,000 near-Earth objects floating out there, and well over 750,000 in the main asteroid belt. But given that the largest asteroid visible here – 1036 Ganymed – is just 21 miles across, it’s safe to see that most of us will never get to see them this clearly.
Alongside the 5,000 asteroids, you also get a good look at Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, taking the total number of bodies visible to 5,004. “We’re essentially flying around the sun through this population of asteroids with our eyes closed,” explained Manley in the video’s description.
Given this density, isn’t it surprising that Earth doesn’t get hit by loads of asteroids? The truth is that it does, but almost all of them burn up in the planet’s atmosphere. NASA data shows that 556 small asteroids struck the atmosphere between 1994 and 2013.
Still, as the video shows, there’s plenty more where they came from…