Orbit Visualiser

It is possible to visualise the orbits of all asteroids in our database by entering their name, provisional designation or catalogue number. The position along the orbit is computed at regular time intervals, thus generating a three-dimensional animated plot of the asteroid trajectory in space. Through control panels it is possible to change the viewpoint, the zoom factor, the timescale and the direction of motion in real-time. Additional visualisation information (e.g. osculating distance from Sun and Earth) and options (e.g. planets selection) is also displayed.

For objects with close flybys to the Earth, a refined modelling of the trajectory which includes planetary perturbations is available. This enhanced functionality makes use of high accuracy ephemerides which allow to correctly display the orbital changes due to Earth close encounters. When this is the case the "Simulation type" flag is turned from "Keplerian" to "Ephemerides". When an object undergoes a close encounter with the Earth the "Close Encounter" flag in the left control panel turns yellow and a geocentric diagram (including the orbit of the Moon) can be displayed by selecting the "Open Close Encounter Diagram" option.

When the orbital evolution becomes unreliable due to error propagation, a red flag appears. This warns that the displayed trajectory should not be used for accurate predictions.
Cometary orbits can be similarly visualised through the "Search for Comets" page.