reply to post by wildespace
There isn't more of meteors than, say, 20 or 30 years ago. There are simply better measures and iniciatives to spot them and to report them.
How on Earth do you know your first sentence is true, if your second sentence is true? You're basically saying they 'probably' missed a bunch
because the detection wasn't as good as it is now. Okay. How many did they miss? Can't say? Then you can't say there has been no increase. But
thanks for towing the party line! I reckon somebody has to do it!
It's called the Optics
and Common Sense.
Prior to 1600, most astronomy was based upon eye sight only. Our eyes simply do not have the resolving power, nor the ability to see faint light very
Galileo started using the first primitive telescope to view the heavens, he made many discoveries, all simply because he suddenly had an piece of
equipment that could allow him to see what his eyes only could not. He discovered the 4 largest moons around Jupiter, something that you can not see
with your eyes alone.
Today we know of 67 moons in orbit around Jupiter. As optics got better and better, so did detection of the much smaller moons. Then as we sent probes
out to Jupiter, we discovered even more that our optics here on Earth can't see.
Did the increase in Jupiter's moons mean that suddenly moons were popping into existence? Ludicrous! The answer of course is no. Our ability to
detect moons that were smaller and smaller increased. It's still possible for Jupiter to capture small asteroids that end up becoming moons, but we
know if that happens because their orbits will be highly eccentric at first.
The same thing happened with Giovanni Cassini. As he was studying Saturn and it's moons in 1671, he discovered
. However over time as he observed it with his telescope that he had then, it seemed to
disappear when ever it got to the other side of Saturn, then reappear again.
In 1705, Cassini got a much better telescope than he had, and with it, he was able to see that Iapetus was not disappearing, but was dimming then
getting brighter. Today we know that Iapetus has one side covered in water ice, making it very bright, and the other side covered in dark material so
it reflects a lot less ice.
This is a perfect example of how better equipment allowed us to see something better. It also shows common sense, as Cassini deduced before he got the
new telescope that the moon was still there, it was just getting dimmer to where his old telescope couldn't see it, and that it must mean that
Iapetus was half covered with something bright, and half covered with something dark. Common Sense prevails.
When new asteroids are discovered, they are tracked. This allows us to calculate their orbit around the sun. The longer we observe them, the more
refined that orbit becomes. None of them are something "new" that have invade our solar system. If they were, their orbits would by highly eccentric
hyperbolic, like a comet. Things coming from outside our solar system do not just whip in and place themselves into a "parking orbit" around the
sun. Objects that have a much more stable orbit around the sun means they have been there since the beginning or for a very, very, very long time
since any new object will start out with that highly eccentric orbit and (if it's lucky and flung out again) takes a long time for that orbit to
change into one that is less eccentric.
Prior to the Hubble Telescope, the best image that anyone could get of the asteroid 4 Vesta
, the 2nd
largest asteroid in the solar system at 326 miles wide, was a picture of a dot. That was it.
Hubble was able to give us a better image of it finally:
But we were not able to see any details until the NASA space craft Dawn visited it and return images from up close:
Right now Dawn is on it's way to Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system at 590 miles wide. And again, prior to Hubble, the best earth based
telescope could make out was a large dot. But even with Hubble, this is all we can see until Dawn get's there:
Progress in technology, more people using that technology, and common sense tells us that there isn't an increase in asteroids. We're simply getting
better at detecting them.