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Recent Events

The following movies are available showing interesting recent events. These movies are ordered chronologically, with the most recent first and the oldest last. Image quality is greatly superior when running simulations from within AstroGrav.

Comets 73P and 73P-BT in March / April 2017

This is an AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of comets 73P and 73P-BT as seen from the Earth in March and April 2017. During this period, the two comets are near perihelion, which is just inside the Earth's orbit (0.97AU). They are about 90 degrees 'ahead' of the Earth in their orbit, with their distance from the Earth increasing from 1.4AU to 1.7AU during the period of the video. At closest approach on 27th March, the comets are slightly under two arcseconds apart.

To give an idea of scale and how close together these comets are, the Moon is about 60 times as wide as the view that is shown in this video. The blue lines show parts of the comets' orbits about the Sun.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 3.4 or better to use this simulation, and might need to change the time step in the evolution settings in order to get the simulation to run at an acceptable speed.

Proposed Ninth Planet

An AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of the proposed ninth planet, as detailed in 'Evidence for a Distant Giant Planet in the Solar System' by Konstantin Batygin and Michael E Brown, and featured in many media articles in late January 2016.

The sun is near the centre of the video, with the eight known planets too close to the sun to distinguish. Pluto can just be seen orbiting about four times a second, which gives a good idea of the scale of the other orbits shown. These are the orbits of the Kuiper Belt objects 2012 VP113, 2013 RF98, 2004 VN112, 2010 GB174, 2007 TG422, and Sedna. The stars of the constellations Centaurus, Crux, and Musca can be seen on the left; the stars of the constellations Vela, Carina, and Volans can be seen in the middle; and the stars of the constellations Puppis and Pictor can be seen on the right.

The video is recorded at 24 frames per second with a time step of 40 years between each frame, so the video runs at a speed of about 1,000 years per second. It starts at 15,000 BC and ends at 15,000 AD, with the present time being shortly after the midpoint.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 3.2 or better to use this simulation, and might need to change the time step in the evolution settings in order to get the simulation to run at an acceptable speed.

Total Eclipse of the Sun - 21st August 2017

An AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of the total eclipse of the sun on 21st August 2017 as seen from the following twelve different viewpoints in the United States of America.

  • Top row, left to right:
    • Seattle in Washington
    • Bismarck in North Dakot
    • Chicago in Illinois
    • Boston in Massachusetts

  • Middle row, left to right:
    • Salem in Oregon
    • Lincoln in Nebraska
    • Nashville in Tennessee
    • Charleston in South Carolina

  • Bottom row, left to right:
    • Los Angeles in California
    • Phoenix in Arizona
    • Albuquerque in New Mexico
    • Houston in Texas

The eclipse is total in the four locations in the middle row. The locations in the top row are all to the north of the line of totality, and the locations in the bottom row are all to the south of the line of totality. Lines of altitude and azimuth can be seen in the background, although you will probably need to pause the video to read them. The video is recorded at 24 frames per second with a time step of 20 seconds between each frame, so the video runs at 24 x 20 = 480 times real-life speed.

You can download the simulation file itself from the AstroGrav website (www.astrograv.co.uk), run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 3.2 or better to use this simulation, and might need to change the time step in the evolution settings in order to get the simulation to run at an acceptable speed. If you have a screen resolution of less than 1920 x 1080 pixels, then you will find that some of the windows partially overlap, because there won't be enough room to display them as intended.

New Horizons' Encounter With Pluto in July 2015

An AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of Pluto and its five moons (Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra) as seen from the New Horizons spacecraft during July 2015.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 3.0 or better to use this simulation.

Total Eclipse of the Sun - 20th March 2015

An AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of the total eclipse of the sun on 20th March 2015 as seen from the following twelve different viewpoints.

  • Top row, left to right:
    • Reykjavic in Iceland
    • Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands
    • Longyearbyen in Svalbard
    • The North Pole

  • Middle row, left to right:
    • London in the United Kingdom
    • Berlin in Germany
    • Minsk in Belarus
    • Moscow in Russia

  • Bottom row, left to right:
    • Madrid in Spain
    • Rome in Italy
    • Bucharest in Romania
    • Volgograd in Russia

The eclipse is total in Tórshavn, Longyearbyen, and the North Pole, and is partial in the other nine locations. Lines of altitude and azimuth can be seen in the background, although you will probably need to pause the video to read them. At the North Pole, the horizon can be seen, and the Sun is rising during the eclipse.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 3.0 or better to use this simulation. If you have a screen resolution of less than 1920 x 1080 pixels, then you will find that some of the windows partially overlap, because there won't be enough room to display them as intended. You might need to increase the time step in the evolver settings in order to get the simulation to run at an acceptable speed.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

An AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of the path of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. This comet is the target of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander. The omega symbol indicates the ascending node of the comet, which is the point where the comet moves from below the plane of the Earth's orbit to above the plane of the Earth's orbit. The viewpoint used in the video is the asteroid Pallas.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 2.1.2 or better to use this simulation.

The Changing Orbit of Comet 209P/LINEAR

An AstroGrav video that shows a simulation of the changing orbit of Comet 209P/LINEAR between the years AD 1700 and AD 2100. The comet's orbit is currently inclined at an angle of approximately 20 degrees to the Earth's orbit, and the omega symbols on its orbit indicate the ascending node and the descending node, which are the points where it crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit. To the left, the comet is above the plane of the Earth's orbit, and to the right, the comet is below the plane of the Earth's orbit.

In AD 1700, the points where the comet crossed the plane of the Earth's orbit were very far from the Earth's orbit. As time passes, the comet's orbit is significantly changed due mainly to the gravitational influence of the planet Jupiter, and as a consequence, the points where the comet crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit move significantly. By AD 1787, one of these points (the descending node) had moved very close to the Earth's orbit, and is visible below the Sun in this video. It stayed in this position until AD 1845, when it moved away. In AD 2012, the descending node again moved very close to the Earth's orbit, and is visible below the centre of Monoceros in this video. It will remain in this position until AD 2046. There is no possibility of a collision with the Earth, because the comet and the Earth always arrive at the comet's descending node on different dates.

Comet 209P/LINEAR is the comet associated with the Camelopardalid meteor shower of 23rd/24th May 2014.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 2.1.2 or better to use this simulation.

Mars as Seen From Comet C/2013 A1 on 19th Oct 2014

This short movie shows how Mars appears as seen from the comet C/2013 A1 as it passes very close on 19th Oct 2014.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 2.1.2 or better to use this simulation.

The Path of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1)

An AstroGrav video showing the path of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) amongst the stars and constellations as seen from the Earth between 4th November 2013 and 1st January 2014.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 2.1.2 or better to use this simulation.

Juno's Earth Flyby on Oct 9th 2013

An AstroGrav simulation showing the Earth and Moon as seen from the Juno spacecraft during a 5 day period from October 5th 2013 to October 10th 2013, including the Earth flyby on Oct 9th 2013. Each second of the video represents the passage of 4 hours, so that the video is speeded up by a factor of 14,400. This video can be compared to the one produced by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and composed from photographs taken from Juno.

You can download the simulation file itself, run it with AstroGrav, and edit and experiment with it as you wish. You will need AstroGrav 2.1.2 or better to use this simulation.