Graphing Your Data to Make a Map

You now have data for a number of different asteroids. On this page, you will make graphs of your data. These graphs will be maps of the Solar System.

Explore 3. Make graphs of the positions of asteroids on September 22nd, 2006. Make graphs of different numbers of asteroids – 10, 500, 1000, and so on.

Use a spreadsheet program to make the graphs. Here are instructions for how to make graphs in Excel.

If you don’t have Microsoft Excel, try one of the following spreadsheet programs (links open in new windows):

OpenOffice (all operating systems)

Put RA on the x-axis and Dec on the y-axis. Again, make sure your graph is twice as long as it is wide. The shape and axes of the graph should look like this:

Question 4. How many different graphs did you make? How many asteroids were on each graph?

Question 5. What shape do you see in the graphs? How many asteroids did you have to include before you could clearly see the shape?

Question 6. Remember that the graph you made is a map of the Solar System as seen from Earth. What do you think that shape you see means? Why does the map look like it does?