Chasing Asteroid 2012 DA14 with Starry Night (Enthusiast, Pro & Pro Plus)



    ***Update:  Asteroid 2012 DA14 is now found in Starry Night under the Space Missions sub-menu (in the Find tab), listed as a "probe". We have included Tarren's file as part of the daily data updates. Go to LiveSky --> Update data file. Thanks again, Tarren!


    *** Update:  An alternative - and possibly more accurate - method for plotting the trajectory of 2012 DA14 has been offered by Tarren in the Starry Night Yahoo User Group: ***


    This KB article is designed to help you manually update the asteroid data in Starry Night in order to keep up-to-date with the rapidly changing orbit of 2012 AD14

    The Problem:

    For the observing astronomer, the trajectory for 2012 DA14 may pose a difficulty for tracking in Starry Night. The asteroid is so close to Earth its orbit is changing rapidly. Once a day, at 9:30AM, Starry Night updates the downloadable asteroid/meteor/satellite data file (found in LiveSky ---> Update Data Files). But, waiting for the downloadable data file to be updated may be frustrating, and then the data may again be inaccurate before the day is over.

    The Solution:

    Certain resources on the internet may offer more up-to-date data regarding 2012 AD14 than will be available in Starry Night. And, single asteroid data can be added maunally into Starry Night Enthusiast, Pro & Pro Plus. Adding the asteroid data from the onine resources may allow you to stay on top of this asteroid as it buzzes the Earth. Here is how to do it.

    1. Obtain the most recent data available for 2012 DA14

    For this KB article we are going to use data from the Minor Planet Center. The link is here:

    However, if you have another source for the data, feel free to use it instead. You can also use Nasa's JPL Small-Body Database Browser here:

    2. The Elements and Ephemeris for 2012 DA14


    Click the link that says - These orbital elements are also available in forms suitable for loading into a number of popular planetarium-type software programs.

    3. Choose Starry Night from the list of available software programs


    4. The following page has all available asteroid data formatted for Starry Night


    Bookmark the URL for this page:
    In the future you can come back here for up-to-date data.
    Note, the second paragraph contains important information for Starry Night's Orbit Editor. The reference plane should be set at Ecliptic 2000 and the Style should be near-circular.
    Note, also, the column headers: Num - Name - Mag - a - e - i - Node - w - L - Epoch <-- you will need to know this in order to copy the information correctly into the Orbit Editor.

    Search the webpage for asteroid 2012 DA14


    Command+F (Mac) or Control+F (PC) to bring up the seach field. Search for "2012 DA14"

    5. Open Starry Night's Orbit Editor


    Go to File ---> New Asteroid Orbiting Sun

    6. The Orbit Editor


    Create a name for the new asteroid data (which should include some informaion that will differentiate it from 2012 DA14 in the download file).
    Confirm the Style is near-circular and the reference plane is Ecliptic 2000.
    Copy and paste all the data from the webpage into the Orbit Editor.
    Magnitude can be added in the "Other Settings" option.
    Close the Orbit Editor and select to SAVE.

    7. Search for your new updated asteroid 2012 AD14 file in the quick Find pane


    Now you have control over the speed, and source, from which Starry Night updates data for asteroid 2012 DA14.

    Happy asteroid hunting!

    8. See other Starry Night KB resources for adding asteroid data manually:

    Asteroids in Starry Night:
    Adding asteroids in Starry Night:
    Using & entering orbital elements: