Proving once again that reality is often stranger than fiction this fascinating animation from Scott Malloy shows asteroids with orbits in resonance with Jupiter.
The video animates the orbital paths of the inner planets and two groups of asteroids, with the frame of reference (roughly) fixed on an idealized, circular Jovian orbit – the blue dot on the left.
- Group one completes three orbits in the time Jupiter takes to completes two, creating three clusters of asteroids.
- Objects in the second group have identical orbital periods to Jupiter, resulting in two lobes ahead and behind the planet.
The explanation is pretty complex, so to save me making a fool of myself, click through the YouTube to button to Scott’s write-up. And, if you’ve not seen it, check out his ever-so-cool asteroid discovery movie.