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How to add Asteroids/Comets to OpenSpace

OpenSpace uses the openspace.cfg file for general configuration. The un-commented Asset line in the file (which is usually Asset = "default") determines which .scene file in data/assets that OpenSpace will run. Change this line to read Asset = "asteroids". The asteroids.scene file is similar to the default, but with 16 separate asset files that contain asteroid or comet orbits.

Running OpenSpace with Asteroids/Comets

To start, double-click (or run from terminal) bin/Release/OpenSpace.exe. The camera will be initially focused on Earth, so it is recommended to zoom out to a point where the solar system is visible. None of the asteroid/comet groups are visible by default. To enable one of these, expand the GUI’s menus by selecting Scene -> Solar System -> Small Bodies. A list of all asteroid groups will be visible. Check one of the boxes to enable.

It is possible to modify the length of the orbital trail by adjusting the “Line fade” value in Renderable -> Appearance in the asteroid/comet group. A higher fade value shows more of the periodic orbital trails. The line color and width can also be changed here (transparancy is accessible underneath ‘Renderable’).

Some of the asteroid categories contain a very high number of objects, which will affect frame rate and program responsiveness. If performance slows too much, then un-click the offending category to prevent it from being rendered.

Additional Features

See the Components/Asteroids page for more detailed information and advanced usage of this content.

Asteroid Content Categories

All trajectory data were obtained from the JPL Small-body Database. The following categories are defined on this site and were used to group the orbital data.

Amor Asteroids

Earth-approaching Near-Earth-Asteroids with orbits exterior to Earth’s but interior to Mars’.

Apollo Asteroids

Earth-crossing Near-Earth-Asteroids with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s.

Aten Asteroids

Earth-crossing Near-Earth-Asteroids with semi-major axes smaller than Earth’s.

Atira Asteroids

Near-Earth-Asteroids whose orbits are contained entirely within the orbit of the Earth.

Centaur Asteroids

Asteroids with either a perihelion or a semi-major axis between those of the four outer planets.

Chiron-Type Comets

Comets with a Tisserand’s parameter with respect to Jupiter of greater than 3 and a semi-major axis greater than that of Jupiter.

Encke-Type Comets

Comets with a Tisserand’s parameter with respect to Jupiter of greater than 3 and a semi-major axis less than that of Jupiter.

Halley-Type Comets

Periodic comets with an orbital period between 20 and 200 years.

Inner Main Asteroid Belt

Asteroids with a semi-major axis less than 2.0 au and a perihelion distance greater than 1.666 au.

Jupiter Family Comets

Comets with a Tisserand’s parameter with respect to Jupiter of between 2 and 3.

Jupiter Trojan Asteroids

Asteroids trapped in Jupiter’s L4/L5 Lagrange points (semimajor axis of between 4.6 and 5.5 au), with an eccentricity of less than 0.3.

Main Asteroid Belt

Asteroids with a semi-major axis of between 2.0 and 3.2 au, and a perihelion distance greater than 1.666 au.

Mars Crossing Asteroids

Asteroids that cross the orbit of Mars, with a semi-major axis of less than 3.2 au, and a perihelion distance of between 1.3 and 1.666 au.

Outer Main Asteroid Belt

Asteroids with a semi-major axis of between 3.2 and 4.6 au.

Potentially-Hazardous Asteroids (PHA)

Asteroids that are deemed potentially hazardous to Earth based on their close approaches. All asteroids with an Earth Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less, and with an absolute magnitude (H) of 22.0 or less.

Trans-Neptunian Asteroids

Any minor or dwarf planets in the solar system that orbit the Sun at a greater average distance than Neptune (semi-major axis of 30.1 AU).