Like the Hula, a traditional hawaiian dance narrating the interaction between the native Hawaiians and the Sea, our project aims at providing new ways to tell the story between Asteroids ("Hokulele" or shooting stars) and the Earth.

This project is solving the Visualize the Asteroid Skies challenge.


Welcome to Hokulele Hula

Like the waves that come and go around an island, our planet Earth is surrounded by an ocean of asteroids moving around us. And like the sea, the asteroids can be both a threat or an opportunity for the planet and the humankind. For this project we aimed at developing original visualization tools that differ from the widely used and already well-known representation of the asteroid orbiting in our Solar system. We thus built simple, clear and graphic representations of the relevant information on the potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) over the next hundred years to raise awareness of the importance of studying and monitoring them.

Another originality of our project is that the Space Apps Challenge overlapped with our annual Open House so we were able to demonstrate and explain our work to the general public and gather their inputs. We present at the end of that description a list of our contributors who provided very good advice. We thanks them for that!

Data description

The data are the PHAs selected form the JPL and the IAU Minor Planet Center. These objects come closer than 0.05 astronomical units (AU) and are about 140 meters or larger in size. We have extracted: the date, the probability of impact, the distance to the Earth and the Palermo scale that encodes the danger of the asteroid and is related to the energy of the potential impact.

Project summary

3D visualization of the Impact Globe

This project provides a 3D visualization of the probability of impact of asteroids over a window a 100 years. For different years, it shows the probability of impact of all the PHAs around the Earth. The position on the sky are random. However the length of the different lines encodes the probability of impact: the closer it gets to the Earth the more probable it will hit it. The line colors encode the energy of the impact: the redder the more dangerous.

100-Year Rose Plot

This project is representing the evolution of the top 12 PHAs distance from Earth over the coming century. The visualizations are designed as a clock so people can see how close the different objects will get from Earth and select different individual asteroids. The dashed lines show the Earth-Moon distance and Geosync satellite altitude.

Ideas for future work:

  • 3D visualization of the Impact Globe
  • Get information for individual object by clicking on a particular line
  • Display on the Earth the contours of the devastation area for a particular object
  • Animate the line to go from outer space to the Earth
  • 100-Year Rose Plot
  • Animate the plots
  • Provide a slider so the user could choose in real time its selection of objects
  • Display the information on a particular object by clicking on a selected line


Institute for Astronomy Open House, April 12, 2015

  • Phyllis Podolske
  • Allan Stone
  • Sierra Beaton
  • The Baldus & Lawrence Ohana
  • Connor and Debbie Frey

Project Information

License: GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License version 3.0 (LGPL-3.0)

Source Code/Project URL: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/users/denneau/spaceapps2015/index.html


3D visualization package - https://www.chromeexperiments.com/globe
Source codes - https://github.com/melodywolk/SpaceAppsChallenge2015


  • Melody Wolk
  • Po-Feng Wu
  • Andrei Sherstyuk
  • Curt Dodds
  • Serge Chastel
  • Larry Denneau
  • Istvan Szapudi