Prospector's Skymap Help

What is it?

It's a webapp for displaying Earth-centric plots of asteroids.

Where is it?

It's here.

It doesn't work or display right for me.

I've only really tested it with Firefox. If you're using IE, there's no hope it will work and little hope it will ever work. If you're using Chrome or Opera it may work, and I've heard it does work.

Why does it take so long to load?

Every time you select a new asteroid it has to download ~400kb of data. That may be a lot of data to some people. Sorry.

What do you mean by "rotate about the elliptic"?

The solar system is mostly flat, but not quite. When you're zoomed out completely (the default), you'll see rotating gives you a "pancake". Zooming in and rotating is great way to lose your place. If you do, press the "reset view" button. Understanding the solar system from a 3d perspective takes practice.

Why is part of the orbit blue?

This is the part of the orbit that is "within range". By default the range is set to 20 LD, you can change it in the edit box next to the object select box.

The mouse wheel doesn't work, I don't have a mouse wheel, how can I zoom without a mouse wheel?

Ooops. It works for me. I'm trying to make it work for other browsers but mouse wheel support is very non-standard. You can use your keyboard, A and Z.

The canvas is too big!!

It's 1024x768, most people have monitors that big these days. You can press C on your keyboard to make it 800x600, press C again to make it 640x480, press C again to make it 320x200 (small enough for ya?), press C again to go back to 1024x768.

What's a LD?

A "lunar distance" is the average distance from the Earth to the Moon, or 384,399km.

Where did you get the data for this from?

I pulled it out of the JPL HORIZONS system, processed it with this code which uses the NAIF SPICE toolkit.

Do you work for NASA?


What amazing features should I try?

Zoom in a lot and you will see the Earth and Moon to scale. Point at the orbit and you will see the date and lunar distance at that point, click and leave a marker, click it again to get rid of it. You can also do this to the close approach marker. Look at the ~500 asteroids, some are really funky.

You don't have my asteroid!

The list contains about 500 asteroids, these are the top candidates for low delta-v rendezvous from this list. If you would like an asteroid that I don't have, contact me with the provisional designation and I'll add it.

I have a great idea, can I contact you?

Yes, I'm happy to hear ideas, I may even implement them if I agree they are great. :P