A quick update on the Google Earth browser plugin based tracker displaying the debris from the collision between the Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 satellites on February 10th.
I mentioned the possibility that the number of fragments tracked in the Norad orbtial elements might increase. Well they have. Threefold over the past week, from 134 up to 406.
Remarkably the application still smoothly animates all objects in real time, even on my single core PC, but inevitiably it sucks up more processing power. You may find it now lags on an old machine or slower browser. If the number increases further I may have to either cap the number displayed or ditch the smooth animation.
Anyway, click on the image above to see it in action.
Related: Here’s a neat simulation from Analytical Graphics which includes a statistical break-up model of the satellites immediately after impact.
Following on from my visualization of the satellite collision over Siberia on February 10th involving Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251, here’s an Google Earth browser plugin based tracker for the debris from the crash.
The application loads up to date Norad orbital elements on start up, and propogates the orbits of all 134 fragments smoothly in real time.
I’m guessing the number of objects could increase over time as more wreckage is discovered. If that’s the case, just have to see how well it scales.
Because you can never have too many ways to see the same thing. This is a browser based version of my satellite visualization from ealier today. Showing the February 10th coming together of US and Russian communication satellites, Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 over Siberia
Same idea as before, plots the locations of the two objects in the minutes leading up to the collision, but this one runs inside the Google Earth Plugin.
Use the time slider at the top of the screen to play the file back. The animation tracks the objects during the 6 minutes leading up to impact. Also included are the orbital paths (ground tracks) of the two objects between 16:00 and 17:00 GMT on February 10th.
Location data is based on the orbital elements for the two satellites, from Celestrak.
Firstly, you can now change the viewing location to anywhere on Earth. To do this, right click on the Location folder (with the blue dot) in the side panel and select Refresh. The animation will then centre on the current view.
Secondly, the visualization displays a Screen Overlayed bar chart by hooking up to the new, and very slick Google charts API. The chart shows the duration, in hours, specific numbers of satellites are visible. The idea being to demonstrate how the distribution profile changes with location.
As a secondary (secondary) option you can view a 24 frame animated bar chart. Where I cumulatively add the current hour’s stats, shown in red, to all the previous hours’ , shown in green. A bit OTT, but interesting to see how rapidly the API dynamically generates the images on demand, and GE caches them.
Edit (2007-12-26): removed this option temporarily – see comments.
There’s a useful tutorial on how to create and embed charts in KML balloons on the official Google Maps Blog. Only difference I found in adapting it for KML Screen Overlays (or Icons, Ground Overlays and PhotoOverlays for that matter) is I needed to use & instead of & in the URLs.