Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomical objects/Archive 19

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main belt asteroids

Arbitrary break #0

See WT:AST, someone has mentioned possibly deleting most of the stub articles. (talk) 06:50, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

We had a big discussion about this last spring, which is now in Archive 8 under "2 Asteroid articles". I notice there has been some activity since about the subject, which I need to examine. My initial position was:

"There are excellent tables at JPL and the Minor Planet Center that are maintained by professionals (and constantly updated by funded computer systems!), and how can or should we compete with those manually when tens of thousands of objects are at stake, and hundreds of thousands are obviously in store due to the NEO and LSST programs? We would not try to do this for stars. For asteroids, let us have some minimal criteria of notability, beyond being an entry in a catalog. If we just limit it to objects that require some words describing why they are interesting, and a reference or two, I think that will give us all the articles we need, and likely more than we can handle."

We discussed the possibilities of having a table with key properties, which would link out to JPL or the Minor Planet Center for more detailed information, or to articles of our own when there has been any real human effort involved in adding material, context, or references. I expect there is more to say about all this, but please remember that some of the data for asteroids may change fairly often, and we do not want to get ourselves into the situation of having thousands of articles that have to be updated continuously, else they become meaningless. I urge people who have an interest in this subject to at least glance over the work done in the archives, since Archive 8 at least, before continuing the discussion, lest we just go in circles. And remember that we do have articles for thousands of earthly counties, towns, islands, etc, that are not very important.

It would be nice to come to some conclusion on this nagging subject, that will keep it from coming up again and again. Thanks Wwheaton (talk) 19:48, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I am the "someone" Wwheaton mentioned who proposes to delete most of the asteroid-stub articles. At Wwheaton's suggestion I have read the archived discussion, and it seems to me that consensus was that these stubs are not notable. This thought was expressed by almost everybody who partook in that discussion in one way or the other. The only question seemed to be how to rework the available information into some kind of list. I propose to try the following: first of all ask the editor who operates the bot that creates all these stubs to discontinue his bot. Secondly, he is propbably the biggest expert on how to incorporate this information into a list with minimum effort. Debresser (talk) 20:55, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I object to this interpretation. I do not see any consensus in that discussion. Moreover, there seems to be a consensus to keep named asteroid's articles. Ruslik (talk) 09:23, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I did some analysis on that archive. In favor of deleting them as separate articles but making a table of the most important information contained in them were: Rick Block, Wwheaton, Kheider, J293339, Stifle, Alai. Against was Captain, who created a lot of them. Razor agreed that "we might be taking it a little too far" but in the end was in favor of keeping all these asteroids as they are named. Just deletion was the opinion of SarekOfVulcan.
So there was clear consensus, with 6 users (7 including myself now) in favor of turning all the stubs into redirects to a table, and 1 deletionist and 1 preservationist and 1 user dancing on both weddings to keep things balanced. :) Debresser (talk) 14:24, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Wwheaton actually said: I have no problem with an article for each named asteroid. So he did not support deletion. There is also Spacepotato who obviously was unhappy with deletion. So I can count 5 against deletion (including me). No consensus, in my opinion. Ruslik (talk) 18:06, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
You seem to suffer from a bias. Spacepotato wasn't unhappy with the deletion in and of itself. And Wwheaton was the one to initiate that discussion and this one too, and he also said there "I really do think it is madness" and is clearly in favor of a list in stead of separate articles. By the way, he is around, so he will state his opinion himself, I guess. Which leaves you and the user who created these stubs as their only defendants. Which makes a clear consensus to delete, IMHO. Debresser (talk) 18:46, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
With this debate appearing again, I suppose as one the people who created these articles, I ought to show up at a debate regarding their inclusion. It has been nearly a year since I finished creating the asteroid articles. During that time, I do not believe that concerns raised last time have come to fruition. Keeping the articles maintained and vandalism-free has not been a serious difficulty and the articles look just fine. The issues regarding Special:Unwatchedpages were dealt with when I added thousands of the asteroid articles to my watchlist. If there are still many of the asteroids still on that page, can someone please give me the article names? I will go add them to my watchlist. (I'm not an admin, so I can't see that page.) Most asteroids being discovered today are not named, so the rate of adding new articles will not be all that high. I do not believe Wikipedia will gain anything from putting these asteroids into a list and I believe that Wikipedia will certainly lose something from deleting them. Captain panda 02:23, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I am glad you are here to partake in the discussion. I agree with you that "keeping the articles maintained and vandalism-free has not been a serious difficulty" and I am happy that "the rate of adding new articles will not be all that high". But I disagree that "the articles look just fine". If an article is a stub and there is no reason to suspect that it will be anything more than that, we shoud consider Wikipedia:Stubs which warns: "When you write a stub, bear in mind that it should contain enough information for other editors to expand upon it. The key is to provide adequate context — articles with little or no context usually end up being speedily deleted". Which is precisely what I think should be done. Just copy the basic info into a list and turn the article into a redirect. You did a nice job of making a dime look like a dollar by adding an infobox and Wikipedia markup, but the content is still a dime's worth. No offence to your dedicated work, but let's face it. Debresser (talk) 10:38, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
It seems that you are advocating deleting all stubs in Wikipedia (about 1,500,000 articles). It is a pretty radical proposal! I advise you to go to WP:VPR and make a proposal there. I am very interested what reaction will be?! Ruslik (talk) 16:54, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, that wasn't really what I had in mind. :) Debresser (talk) 16:58, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
It might be hard to expand the majority of those articles, but should that automatically qualify them for deletition? I think that a list could clutter the information. --Harald Khan Ճ 18:21, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Not deletion, but turning them into a list. That list should obviously present the important information in a clear way. Debresser (talk) 19:14, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
WP:MERGE does list criteria for combining pages, and one of them is when a "page is very short and is unlikely to be expanded within a reasonable amount of time". A problem arises when you consider the number of rows on the asteroid infoboxes then contemplate how those would look on a mass table. I'm not sure if that would be a useful activity. Perhaps a format comparable to a list of TV episodes page would work. E.g. List of Heroes episodes. perhaps we just need to keep a few basic data, such as name, a, e, i, P and spectral class in the data row, then describe anything else interesting in the text box below.—RJH (talk) 20:00, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
The discussion in moving in the right direction. Not if, but how. Debresser (talk) 20:36, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #1

Our older proposals: I am copying two table suggestions in from the May 2008 discussion, perhaps we can build on them:


Rick Block's suggestion:

I don't think there's any reasonable way to include a,e,i,etc. without making the table overly wide or using a show/hide sort of approach. Using show/hide, this might look like the following (note there are 2 physical lines per entry since show/hide seems to introduce a 2nd line):

Name Alternate
Group Discovery date Discoverer Orbital/physical characteristics More information
20813 Aakashshah 2000 SB274 Main-belt 2000-09-28 Lincoln Laboratory
Data table
H: 14.4
a: 2.6767409
e: 0.1117672
i: 2.98933
Node: 196.60418
peri: 307.92848
M: 164.07487
Epoch: 3871.4664786
677 Aaltje 1909 FR Main-belt 1909-01-18 August Kopff
Data table
H: 9.70
a: 2.9548394
e: 0.0497858
i: 8.48963
Node: 272.90478
peri: 280.18136
M: 123.27949
Epoch: 3965.1872566
2676 Aarhus 1933 QV Main-belt 1933-08-25 Karl Reinmuth
Data table
H: 12.8
a: 2.4032459
e: 0.1263205
i: 4.55345
Node: 289.75298
peri: 45.51728
M: 12.54766
Epoch: 4553.0696866
I'd be willing to write some code to construct tables like this (based on the data at JPL or some other available source). -- Rick Block (talk) 01:10, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


Wwheaton's alternative:

Here's my cut at a table, for the same three objects Rick Block has done above:

No. / Name Alt. Name Year H a e i Node Arg Peri Anom. M Epoch TJD Full data
20813 Aakashshah 2000 SB274 2000 14.4 2.6767409 0.1117672 2.98933 196.60418 307.92848 164.07487 3871.4664786 JPL SBD
677 Aaltje 1909 FR 1909 9.70 2.9548394 0.0497858 8.48963 272.90478 280.18136 123.27949 3965.1872566 JPL SBD
2676 Aarhus 1933 QV 1933 12.8 2.4032459 0.1263205 4.55345 289.75298 45.51728 12.54766 4553.0696866 JPL SBD

I have included the absolute magnitude H, and the six principle orbital elements. In order for the orbital elements to be meaningful, it is also necessary to give the epoch time when they apply, since M changes rapidly and the others may also change, though usually very slowly. In order to save column space I have given this as Julian Date - 2450000.00. The choice of 2450000 will work for epochs from around 1995 to ~2023. (I am just guessing all the data at JPL have been generated for epochs since 1995, but there might be a few with no recent observations that are earlier.) There would need to be an explanatory header at the beginning defining all these, or a footnote at the bottom.

I have just copied the values from the JPL pages, but I actually am in doubt whether we need to have quite so many digits. Anybody doing high precision work is likely to go to the JPL tables directly anyhow, and I suspect we could get by with about 6 digits for the six primary orbital elements, and 7 or 8 for the epoch. This would save ~12 to 15 spaces. I have omitted the nominal size and albedo because these are not available for the newer objects, since they need photometric observations in visual and IR. We could add them if we think we have the space, and don't mind leaving them blank when unavailable.

The orbital period is redundant with a, but so useful I think it might be added also, in years to say, 3 digit accuracy. It seems to me we have the space if we reduce the accuracy on the orbit elements a bit. I dropped Group as largely redundant with the orbital elements; if we want to re-instate it I think I would put it in as a 2 or 3 character code, (eg, "M-B"), with an explanation decoding it in the footnote. Spectral class could be treated in the same way; it is not available for most objects. I reduced date of discovery to just Year, since it seems to me that it really only tells us if an object may have lots of (likely lower-precision) earlier observations or not. I also thought the discoverer was of marginal scientific interest, and therefore punted that.

My goal here has been to put the data in a form that can be used quickly by anyone looking for moderately accurate information about the main properties, in a format that could be read by computer for some statistical purposes, or even to generate rough (arc minute?) ephemermis info, but not good enough for high-precision positional work. Anything that drastically breaks the table format we choose -- whatever it is -- should likely have an article with the details in any case.

Being unfamiliar with the coding, I have given no consideration to the difficulties in generating a table, for thousands of objects, in this format. It may be impractical, in which case I bow to the necessities of the case. Anyway, let me know what you think. Bill Wwheaton (talk) 16:01, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


Looking at them afresh, I rather like the hide/show scheme Rick Block proposed, which I had forgotten. I am not too happy about mass deletion of existing articles out of respect for Captain Panda's labors, except as it causes Wiki administrative or institutional problems, which is a subject that I have no insight about. (I've posted requests on talk pages of a couple of administrators who commented earlier, asking for their views.) Personally, I think the table should be organized by number, as this has a (very rough) correspondence with history and observability, also would mean it will only expand at the bottom, so that the organization by rows would be somewhat stable. I favor including the major physical parameters (six orbit elements & epoch; orbital period; magnitude H; estimated size (from comparison of optical and IR brightness) when available; spectral class when available, rotation period if known; the name when there is one, plus wikilink to any article that exists, plus links out to JPL & MPC pages with more info, plus the things I've forgotten. I think the orbit data should be limited to fewer digits than I show above, (? 5 or 6?) both to conserve space, and to avoid the need to update the tables often due to planetary perturbations, etc. Wwheaton (talk) 00:48, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Unless I am mistake, hide/show is discouraged in mainspace due to problems with text-only browsers and universal access. DGG (talk) 01:15, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I have just checked the orbit elements from the three asteroids we used as examples above against the current JPL links. The agreement is not very good, even for those elements that are expected to be nearly constant. Some of this is due to planetary perturbations, and some due to improvements as new data come in. The bottom line is that we can round off the elements and save some column space, but how much is the right amount is likely to be a hard question. Also, as I feared last year, the values given in our current articles are likely to be outdated already. Wwheaton (talk) 02:08, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

I also like that first table by Rick Block best. This is The Right Thing To Do, in my opinion. Debresser (talk) 13:24, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Comments by RJH (talk):
      1. If this goes forward, I'll assume this is going to be a different tree than the existing List of minor planets pages. Perhaps 'List of named minor planets'?
      2. No offense, but neither of the tables seems wholly satisfactory to me. They both include columns that I expect have very marginal value to 99.9% of the wikipedia readers. These are better provided by a simple note with a JPL link. Node and Arg Peri seem questionable. OTOH, I think that semi-major axis and orbital period would be of interest to more readers; perhaps inclination and ellipticity as well.
      3. Some of the fields would be better presented in a text block below the stats. For example, for 20813 Aakashshah: "This is a main belt asteroid that was discovered 2000-09-28 by the Lincoln Laboratory. It is named after Aakash Shah (b. 1988)." Long tables of data are deathly dull; I think we need this to be more engaging for the reader.

I agree with the suggestion made by RJH in point 2. And I also agree with the suggestion to skip part of the decimals. Debresser (talk) 21:22, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm, dull is in the eye of the reader I think. A log or trig table was dull unless you needed to do a calculation based on it. I favor all six of the standard Keplerian orbital elements, plus the epoch and the period, because they tell you where the thing is. With a fairly simple calculation (that could be put int a programmable calculator, for example) one can calculate the actual Cartesian position and velocity of the object at other times, subject to planetary perturbations not being serious and limited by the precision of the elements, of course. You cannot do these things without the node and argument of the perigee. You can figure where the object will appear in the sky with few minute-of-arc accuracy, for a telescope. You can also estimate the closest possible approach of an asteroid to the orbit of another body whose elements are known, such as the Earth. You could search for possible near approaches of a mission spacecraft, to Jupiter say, to an interesting asteroid en route, or the energy (or rocket delta-v) required to travel from a planet (eg, Earth) or asteroid to another asteroid. Then with spectral type, you could make a preliminary list of viable candidates for extraterrestrial resource use. You could also get such information manually by plowing through thousands of stubs, but one table would be easier (assuming we can find a usable compromise between accuracy and number of digits, of course.)

Hmm, well I enjoy mathematics but I'm not sure why I would find looking up a log value enjoyable. Perhaps for the end result?
Indeed. Wwheaton (talk) 20:37, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I really hope that nobody is using wikipedia as the basis of important calculations, as the data may become outdated and isn't necessarily being maintained or corrected. If you're not using the data for calculations, then I can't imagine why you'd need to know the 'Longitude of ascending node' or 'Argument of perihelion'. You'd be lucky to even find a non-astronomer that knows what they mean. Most simple tables of astronomy data I've seen only show basic things like orbital radius, orbital period, mass and size. :) —RJH (talk)
Also please see WP:NOT#STATS. WP:NOT is a frequently cited reason for deleting pages, so I try to avoid articles falling into one of those categories. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 18:31, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Nobody would use them for precision calculations, but I would hope we could provide data that suffices for minute-of-arc accuracy, or say 10,000 km in position of the object, which would be useful for the kind of overview estimates I mention above. And if this information is too detailed for a table, I cannot see providing it in separate articles, except for major bodies. Although no naive reader would know the meanings of the elements, many interested amateurs do, they are basic to knowing where the objects actually are, and their meanings are well-discussed and easily available (eg, orbital elements) within Wikipedia. Perhaps we should just have articles for a few hundred of the largest asteroids (? say > 100 or 30 km?) and let it go at that? Also, if we do not give the argument of the perihelion and the RA of the node, there is no point in giving the mean anomaly or the epoch of the elements. All of those are essentially only useful for locating a body in space at a particular time. The first three elements, a, e, & i, essentially give the size and shape of the orbit (they are normally nearly constant); the node, perihelion, mean anomaly, and epoch locate it at any particular time. I advocate keeping or dropping the latter four all together. Best, Wwheaton (talk) 20:37, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I would not mind a short string for discoverer and date, say, but I was hoping for a table with a regular enough format that it could be easily read by a computer program, which could then do statistical studies of various kinds, as suggested above. A few-character code for "main belt", or whatever, is fine, but "This is a main belt asteroid that was discovered 2000-09-28 by the Lincoln Laboratory. It is named after Aakash Shah (b. 1988)." is enough irregular information to merit a stub, in my opinion. Anyhow, it cannot be all things to all people, and this is just my POV. Professional mission planners must have access to much better tables than we will ever make, of course, though even with lots of digits and briefly coded additional information, such a table would be much more compact and less of a burden on Wikipedia I would think, than thousands and thousands of stubs. Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 08:59, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Detailed data tables should probably be on Wikisource or maybe Wikibooks. But it would be nice if we could make some type of periodic remote lookup queries to keep the data here updated. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 18:31, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Nosing around the JPL web sites, I find here much the kind of table I have been advocating:
   * Numbered Asteroids  (23 MB) or gzip compressed file  (8 MB)
   * Unnumbered Asteroids (23 MB) or gzip compressed file (8 MB)
   * Comets (359 KB) 

"Orbital elements and related parameters are also available for any asteroid (or comet) using our small-body browser. In addition, custom tables of orbital elements and/or physical parameters are available using our small body database search engine. We also provide fixed-format ASCII tables of elements."

I have just downloaded the numbered asteroids table, and it provides all I have been, wanting, and all reduced to a common epoch, for 207942 numbered asteroids, and all (that I've scanned) with H & G (IR) magnitudes, from which sizes can be estimated. Furthermore, it appears the data are updated very frequently by JPL. Total size when unpacked is ~23 MB. but I see no need to copy it here when we can just link to it and anyone can download it for their own purposes.
In the light of the easy availability of this information, I favor simply linking to the external JPL site, and having asteroid articles for only a few hundred or a thousand notable objects that are truly worth writing about. I think we should only have an article, beyond the most notable ones, when we have more to say than can be found in the JPL summary pages for each—which is quite a bit. Fairly simple computer programs can do moderate precision emphemerides from the orbit elements, but there is also a high-precision ephemeris program, HORIZONS, at JPL that one can use to run better projections, forwards and backwards, than any non-specialist is likely to be able to do without access to massive computing and programming resources. It seems to me that this changes the picture significantly. Wwheaton (talk) 08:09, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #2

This is a worthy suggestion IMHO, satisfying all of our needs both as to providing information as well as to being an encyclopedia. Debresser (talk) 11:17, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I just realized that the "G" mentioned above and given in the JPL tables is not an IR absolute magnitude as I had presumed, but a spectral slope. I have struck over the incorrect text. Thus asteroid size is only very roughly indicated (by H) in the JPL tables. Wwheaton (talk) 20:48, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Another source is here at the university of Pisa, which gives even more detailed information (including uncertainties in the elements, and even the covarience matrix) for the same list of objects; it says they are updated monthly. Both of these links are now listed in the main Asteroids article. Wwheaton (talk) 00:36, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

It seems to me we now need one or more definite proposals as to what to do with the asteroid stubs. I am thinking we should delete most of them. (The question of what to delete seems most pressing. I suggest keeping the articles for everything numbered up to the first one or two thousand ("old" asteroids), plus larger ones discovered since (based on a threshold H [this gives minimum size], value TBD), plus any others that have actual human-created information, text, references, etc beyond simply computer-generated numbers from the JPL & Pisa tables.) I further suggest we provide an index table, in numeric order, with the information in the JPL table (osculating elements, essentially), possibly some of the information from Pisa, absolute magnitude H, discovery date, a wikilink (on the number/name field I guess) to our article if we have one, plus a reference column with links to the JPL page for the object. Maintaining currently meaningful information does not appear too difficult, as both the JPL & Pisa tables seem to be kept up-to-date. There should clearly be explanatory information about the meaning of the columns in the table, as several are somewhat technical. I propose we take suggestions and modified proposals for a week or two (say till 15 March?) and then decide if we have come to consensus, and if we have, take action, so that this issue can be put to bed. Wwheaton (talk) 19:16, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I think all but the most notable should be deleted. Where notability is not measured by the asteroid's number, but by its outstanding physical characteristics or being named after the president's dog. Even if that would mean just a 10-25 asteroids. All others should be included in the list and turned into redirects. Debresser (talk) 22:33, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I think all named asteroids should be kept. I am fine with deleting any non-named asteroids, though. Captain panda 03:02, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I do not know what is meant by a "named" asteroid. Is "1234 Panda" considered named or non-named? Debresser (talk) 15:54, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, a number/name pair is considered named when it is listed at the Minor Planet center and officially recognized by the IAU. The un-named ones usually consist of an identifier that encodes the year of discovery. The stub pages should be converted to redirects to the merged summary tables, rather than deleted. —RJH (talk) 20:21, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

In that case I am against keeping all named asteroids. As I said before, just those with outstanding physical characteristics or being named after the president's dog. I've seen a few of them (10-15) and they are dull. No reason to keep them as articles/stubs. That's what we are talking about here. Debresser (talk) 21:32, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I concur, but, as before, I don't want to rush into a mass delete. I'd like to see one or more straw horse 'list of' pages set up, then we can hash out the details and see what will be used; perhaps using the table formats suggested above. Would it make sense to do this on a trial page (under this wikiproject) for the first 10 asteroids (incl. Ceres)? I.e. an introduction plus a table with headers, a row of data for each asteroid, then a row with a single paragraph summary. We can always re-use the text descriptions on the final page, so it won't be wasted effort.—RJH (talk) 20:00, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Good thought, RJH. Personally I think a cut based on absolute mag H (which implies a minimum size, depending on albedo) may be the way to go, with exceptions for anything truly notable for any other reason. But let's try out some alternate table schemes before trying to decide what really works best. And not rush into a mass delete until we have it right. The delete is surely a low priority thing, boring stubs probably don't hurt us too bad. Wwheaton (talk) 23:54, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #3

Okay I'll throw out the first dart board: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomical objects/temp_list1. It only has a couple of entries at present, and I wasn't too concerned about the accuracy of the data or source: it's mainly for format.—RJH (talk) 23:31, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I just noticed the existing List of minor planets, which we should bear in mind. We might consider linking to these lists (which contain names of discoverers, dates and places of discovery observations, and provisional designations) for our table. For the record, the first numbered asteroid without a name seems to be No. 3757 (1982 XB), at the moment unless I have missed one in my cursory scan. Names get pretty sparse around 10,000 or so. Wwheaton (talk) 17:23, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Looks good. I have a suggestion. Make two lines of information. That way you can include in the second line the name of the discoveror, the date of discovery, type, dimension and mass. That is all standard information, so should be in a list. That was the whole idea, wasn't it. Any irregular information, such as for whom the asteroid is named, would be in text. Debresser (talk) 18:26, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I've never been a big fan of double-row table entries. Personally I think it'd be better in a separate table that is in-page linked from the first. (Perhaps down in a numerical data section.)—RJH (talk) 22:41, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I do understand your reluctance as to double-rowed tables, but

  • the main problem of double-rowed tables is clarity of information, but with the nice layout from Wwheaton it feel that will be ok
  • I hold it by far preferable to your suggestion "a separate table that is in-page linked from the first"

Debresser (talk) 22:52, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

    • Then we disagree. Shrug.—RJH (talk) 22:55, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
    •  :) Let's see what others have to say about this. Debresser (talk) 23:01, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

It seems like our short-trial balloon lists are likely to have a lot of information that our "typical' (? whatever that is) entry would lack. We might want to consider basing our test table on #10000—#10020 to get something more representative. Or maybe 1—10, 101—110, 1001—1010, 10001—10010, 100001—100010 ? That would be 50 entries, logarithmically spaced. I'm up to start one based on my earlier suggestion, at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomical objects/temp_list2. I'm time and energy strapped at the moment (as usual, more honestly), so it may take a while to get it up. Comments on the page, above or below, are welcome of course.

No comments anywhere I see here, but please see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomical objects/temp_list2 for my second attempt (after the one above) and then also my third attempt, based on the JPL Numbered Asteroids table described 27 Feb 2009 above just before Arbitrary break #2.

  • I need some sign of consensus before proceeding much further.
  • I need some help with the table formatting wikicode, etc.

Please comment here or on the ./temp_list page. Thanks Wwheaton (talk) 00:49, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I liked Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Astronomical objects/temp_list1. It looks nice; it diesn't have too many digits after the decimal dot. Just that I would make it a 2-row table, as stated above. Debresser (talk) 17:49, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I believe that size and mass are not known, or only very coarsely known, for all but the largest asteroids, no? I suppose that these will all have associated articles in any case. Rotation period is another important parameter that I think is known for a significant minority, by timing light variations. Wwheaton (talk) 00:15, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Wanting to keep the discussion moving, I have added quite a few objects (total now about 330, distributed from 1 Ceres, to #207942 "4291 T-3") from the ASCII JPL table, in order to get a better feel for what we are up against in terms of size, variability of data formats etc.
As is explained in the "test2" list page I have generated, I simply misinterpreted the perihelion passage times tp in the detailed JPL pages for separate objects, as the epoch times. In fact, all the JPL object pages seem to have the same epoch time, of JD 2455000.5. This is in June 18, 2009, meaning that they must recompute the osculating elements pretty often (? like every year?) so one can easily compute a fairly accurate position at any time for a few years around the epoch time given, without having to do a big n-body calculation (which calls for the JPL HORIZONS program, or something like it, with the most accurate available input data.) The program that generates big ASCII tables of standardized elements also has a standard epoch, only 200 days earlier. That must be changed often too. Because it seems so much easier to generate the table en mass starting from the JPL ASCII table than to go through all 207,000 of the JPL object pages and try to pick out the elements and numbers we need, I think that is probably the way to go. (This has such important practical consequences that I am repeating the above information from the test2 page to make it more visible.)
At this point I favor dropping the epoch date as unnecessary, if all are the same (as they appear to be). The JPL "G" slope parameter seems to contain little information (it is given as 0.15 for almost every object), and I think it might be dropped. I also favor dropping the date of discovery, which is of limited physical interest, and easily found via the links for each object, and our own List of minor planets. But there are spectral types, size & albedo estimates, rotation periods, and B-V & U-B colors for quite a few. I would consider adding some of these, as they are physically important, but I am not clear what is really the reasonable maximum width of a Wiki table. Now that wide LCD monitor screens are becoming common, it may be reasonable to include more of these than would previously have been possible.
There are very few mass estimates, less than fifty total I suspect (this out of >200,000 total objects!) I see about five (Nos. 1,2,4,10,16) in the first 20, plus there are a few that have been closely enough approached by spacecraft (Nos. 243, 253, & 433), with doubtless more to come in due course. Very rough estimates of mass (factor of 3× either way?) can be obtained from those many more with size estimates, by guessing the density (? range 0.5 to 8, at the outside maybe?), but I doubt many of these are published or usable here.
Of course, as I have said several times, I personally strongly favor keeping reasonably accurate values for all six of the essential orbital parameters, which are needed to tell where any of these little guys actually are at a given time. I agree that they are boring to look at through a telescope, but so are stars. So I think their actual positions are important. Anyway, I'm interested to hear what people think about these trade-offs. I still disfavor double-line tables if that can be avoided. But I am thinking in terms of getting answers to questions like "What are the one-hundred most promising candidate objects for investigation as possible targets for exploration as possible sources of ice, or nickel-iron, or carbon, or nitrogen, etc in terms of mission velocity, object composition,....?" This may be too specialized an objective for this venue; maybe no more sensible person would dream of going to Wikipedia for such information.
Do we have consensus that we will only keep an article if the object has a name (several thousand do, probably less than 20,0000), or if it is otherwise notable in some special way? If that includes too many, then I would favor retaining their articles based on H, which is a very rough indicator of size, and thus of "importance". There is also the question of whether we really want to limit this to Main Belt objects. Because the vast majority of objects are in the belt, yet a fair number of interesting objects are not in the main belt), I think it would be better to keep the lot of them all in one big table, rather than proliferate (possibly overlapping) tables. If so I would propose trying to reach consensus on what to include and the formatting details. We should keep in mind also that the LSST is going to blow us out of the water with new objects fairly soon. We should think about how to deal with that, we are just getting started here, and don't want the whole thing to collapse in five years. There is also more information, at least at the MPC and the University of Pisa in Italy, some of which may need to be considered, but I have not done that myself yet. Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 11:40, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Masses are known for more than hundred asteroids now. In this relatively old paper (2006) the number of binaries is already more than 50. However it is growing rapidly. Among the first 20 the mass estimates are available for 1,2,3,4,6,7,9,10,11,15,16,17,19 (see this, which also a relatively old publication). Ruslik (talk) 12:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to repeat my opinion: "I am against keeping all named asteroids. As I said before, just those with outstanding physical characteristics or being named after the president's dog. I've seen a few of them (10-15) and they are dull. No reason to keep them as articles/stubs." So unless it is a somehow notable asteroid, in my opinion there is no need to have a separate article and a place in a list should be all. This is what the whole discussion started about. Not about unnamed asteroids, but about the thousands of uninteresting (to the public at large) named asteroid, save a 50-100 interesting ones. 11:58, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #4

As a practical matter, I recently scolded an IP-editor for vandalism on Rinbidhoo, which at first I thought was a joke article. Then I had to apologize and revert my revert, after I considered asking for deletion, reviewed the rules for speedy deletion, and concluded that it could surely not pass the test for that, and was doubtful it could even find consensus for deletion under the normal deletion process, despite a certain lack of intrinsic interest in the eyes of some (me, in particular). I personally am not interested in carrying the flag for mass deletion of the stubs about objects that have any hope of rising to be objects of genuine broad interest. I think that a great many of these objects are likely to prove quite interesting in the next decade or two, and a fair number may rise to great importance before this century is out.

Anyhow, I'm happy to work on the table, but think the number of asteroid articles we should ideally have right now is probably in the few thousands (surely not much above 10,000, just a guess), and that that number is about to rise steeply in the near future. The uncompressed JPL ASCII list of numbered asteroids is 23 MB long, and has ~208000 objects. I have not looked at the list of un-numbered objects (see above) that they can provide. An un-numbered asteroid is one that has been observed, but does not yet have enough observations for a reliable orbit determination, but I see that it is also 23 MB long, and I assume that something like another >200,000 objects are likely to get numbers when LSST arrives. We are a bit like Magellan's crew here, noting down islands in the South Sea and the East Indies. Instead of being depressed, we should be exhilarated at the new vistas we see opening up. I do wish I had a real appreciation of the problems these stubs cause the Wiki machinery, the problems of the stub nome's in particular. Maybe you, Debresser (talk), or some of those folks would like to represent that side of the argument here. But I think the deletion process is likely to prove lengthy, contentious, and an exercise in needless hassle unless it is truly necessary and clearly justifiable under Wiki rules.

By the way, Captain panda or anyone, how many asteroid articles/stubs do we actually have now? I see 2 out of 40 missing articles around #3000 in my "version 2 table, and more of course as I sample beyond 10000. I also wonder how many stubs have no, or almost no, information not in our table proposals (not so easy to estimate, I know). It would be useful to have a better idea about the actual numbers in question. Cheers, Wwheaton (talk) 01:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm not a dev or even admin. If I understand correctly, we editors shouldn't be worried about the strain on hardware, just about editing. It is in this respect that I can not agree that we need articles for any but the most interesting asteroids.
I'd complare it to the Honorverse I worked on a little here in Wikipedia. This is a military science fiction series. Main characters have their own article, but all others are brought together in one list List of Honorverse characters. We should do the same. To do otherwise goes against the notability guideline.
I see it is hard to persuade astronomers of this, but I think a broader forum of people would agree with me on this. Perhaps bring the question to them?
Frankly speaking, the only reason I see these stubs might ever be interesting/relevant/notable to anybody but scientists (and Wikipedia is not written for them) is when we'll start exploiting asteroids or living on them, as in science fiction. Debresser (talk) 11:09, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is written for scholars (people who seek to learn), some of whom are scientists. It has the ultimate aim, I believe, of making all verifiable, factual knowledge widely available, worldwide. Just because you may think asteroid orbit data is boring does not make it non-notable, or uninteresting to others. Asteroids are interesting individually and collectively, just like towns and geographical features on the Earth. More and more of them will be directly visitable and visited in the rest of the century. Cheers, Bill Wwheaton (talk) 08:14, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I can see them as interesting to amateur astronomers as target challenges. (talk) 09:44, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Let them practise on the notable ones. Debresser (talk) 09:20, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I am going to go ahead with my version 2 table here if I don't get constructive suggestions for modification soon. If others want to mass delete stubs, they can do so, but I am not enthusiastic enough about that to undertake it myself, unles convinced they are a real problem. Wwheaton (talk) 15:37, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Still watching for suggestions for this table (version 2) before going ahead with it. Wwheaton (talk) 05:31, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Of course WP is written for scientists in the general sense, though not for academic specialists for critical work. Still, even specialists use it. In my field, i first took WP seriously when a well rigorous academic started citing it in peer-reviewed articles for definitions. It's an extremely reliable ready-reference tool even for specialists. And asteroids are I believe within the interests & capabilities of many amateur astronomers. Having this basic information is therefore appropriate. As for Wikipedia, remember it takes more human work , more load on the servers, and more storage , to take stubs out than to leave them in. All changes simply get added to the database, and even "deleted" articles are kept. All that happens is that they are made inaccessible except to admins, & for articles of this sort, I do not see the advantage of that. If anyone wants to make a table in addition, fine. Given the past history of US government databases in some fields, we may well be here longer than the JPL. DGG (talk) 05:02, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

I stepped into this hornet's nest when I nominated 7528 Huskvarna for speedy deletion. I think that if the only way an article is generated is by a bot munching on some database, that the subject of the articles is not notable enough for an encyclopedia. Many others have cited what Wikipedia is not. I've been amusing myself with speculation on what other database dumps could be turned in to billions of Wikipedia "stubs", each incapable of much expansion, each better off as an entry in a database instead of as a robot-produced but not-robot-readable "article". We don't really want Wikipedia turning into a substitute for the motor vehicle registry or the DNS, do we ? If anyone put the whole tribe of asteroid stubs up for deletion, I'd add a support entry. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:29, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedias in other languages have had complete encyclopedias dumped onto them (when they've expired their copyrights)... and there are many articles on Wikipedia that are or started out as a dump from Encyclopedia Britannica 1911, FOLDOC, or the CIA World Fact Book. (talk) 09:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Theese other encyclopedias were not made up of articles about individual phone numbers, license plates, IP addressess -- or individual asteroids, either. There's a difference between an article started by an actual human being as opposed to one that is the detritus of some uncaring automaton grinding away at a database. --Wtshymanski (talk) 13:45, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Lack of notability isn't a speedy-deletion criterion. Neither is bot-creation (nor am I convinced it should be). For a probably non-notable subject like the asteroid in question, you might try PRODding the article but in my experience there is always someone who believes any subject should have its own separate article so I'm not entirely sure why Wikipedia keeps this process. Which leaves only AfD... Let's see how this goes... Icalanise (talk) 19:52, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

PROD works sometimes, I've deleted several articles via PROD. Though considering what's been happening with other asteroid articles, it probably won't for asteroids. (talk) 04:09, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

7528 Huskvarna & asteroids reorganization (take II)

7528 Huskvarna has popped up on AfD for deletion. It was previously suggested as a speedy deletion target, and was declined. (talk) 04:45, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Here's the entry: Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/7528_Huskvarna. The consensus seems to be a keep.– RJH (talk) 20:27, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Which incidentally makes a mockery of the concept of notability being important. Icalanise (talk) 23:19, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
Roll on, Project:Telephone_Numbers, Project:License_Plates, and Project:IP_Addresses - Wikipedia is now the repository of all knowledge. Think how often you use these common items - wouldn't it be handy to have a stub article on *each and every one of them*, because, after all, it's notable! Bitterly, --Wtshymanski (talk) 00:32, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is already the repository of every kind of officially recognized population center (ie, hamlet, village) of however small population (ie. 0) ... so this is hardly different. (talk) 06:24, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
I guess what we need now is for someone to bot-create over a billion star articles from the USNO-B1.0 catalogue... all inherently notable! Icalanise (talk) 20:19, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Go for it! That's only half tongue in cheek... There's no size limit to Wikipedia, after all. Nevermind the fact that such a reply is not helpful or constuctive at all.
Anyway, I "discovered" these articles myself the other day and I'm really torn. The size of the articles and the number of them immediately suggests a merge into a single list like page, but... I'm not convinced that the individual pages are not worth it. There are specific instances (1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, 951 Gaspra, etc...) that certainly shouldn't and couldn't be merged into a list article, as well. Also, with the Dawn mission ongoing, there's a real possibility that much more information on many asteroids is forthcoming.
Ω (talk) 20:40, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
If by "many asteroids" you mean 1 Ceres and 4 Vesta, which last time I checked constituted a very small proportion of known asteroids. Though admittedly if you reckon things by mass... Icalanise (talk) 22:37, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
The plan is for it to continue on to alternate targets after it's rendezvous with 1 Ceres... Regardless... I don't know, I'm honestly torn on this issue. I'm inclined to say leave them simply because it's a fait acompli right now, but if the consensus is to merge them into a list like article I know that I could do a good portion of the work (using automation). Either way, I think that we should have a straight-forward discussion about it without the sarcastic, acerbic commentary.
Ω (talk) 22:51, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I would say that at the very least, any asteroid discovered before the age of astrophoto searches should have an article. (plus, obviously, some more notable more recent finds, anything visited by a spacecraft, for instance) (talk) 06:35, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

{deindent} There's a certain irony in the fact that a very obscure object like this is inherently notable, whereas some popular culture-related articles (with many blog entries but little serious journalistic coverage) have difficulty avoiding deletion. At most there are probably a few hundred notable asteroids. Maybe we can have some sort of expandable template entries for the less notable asteroids so that they can be readily merged into a list? That would still allow bots to scan the source for the details.—RJH (talk) 17:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Once we discover more than say 1,000 exoplanets, exoplanets are going to have the same issues. I would say any asteroid or exo-planet created (and/or edited) by a human is a article worth keeping. The many bot created articles are a grey area. -- Kheider (talk) 17:52, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately it's not clear why the act of creating a page by a human makes it worth keeping. The success of WP:PROD is evidence to the contrary. I really think we ought to raise the bar just a little and consider that the "significant coverage" requirement of WP:Notability means including information beyond the orbital elements and a few basic data points. Otherwise consolidation of the asteroid data seems a better approach. There are also a number of star articles in the same boat.—RJH (talk) 21:17, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Fundamentally a lot of these objects are so obscure that merging them into a list isn't actually removing information. Advantage of merging is that it can provide more context for a large range of objects without much duplication of content, and also gives a reduced attack cross-section (particularly since bot-generated stubs aren't particularly likely to end up on a human's watchlist, so could potentially lead to longer persistence time of vandalism). Though I'm not sure how much of a concern is the latter. Icalanise (talk) 21:54, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Personally, I have real issues with using Wikipedia:Notability by itself to justify deletions. The deletionists are dead set on using that guideline as a bludgeon though, and there's a snowballs chance in hell of that changing anytime soon... Anyway, as I said above, I wouldn't have an issue with a consensus decision either way (merge to list or keep) as long as we're consistent, with a good selection rationale. We could have a discussion on star articles as well, but that should be a separate discussion in my view.
Ω (talk) 21:56, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Sample table

What about using a table comparable to the following trivial example? It should be fairly easy to set up templates for the inner collapsible tables.

Minor Planet
Discovery date Discovery site Discoverer(s) Category
1 Ceres (A899 OF; 1943 XB)
Orbital characteristics
Aphelion 446,669,320 km
Perihelion 380,995,855 km
Semi-major axis 413,832,587 km
Eccentricity 0.07934
Ceres, is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System and the only one in the asteroid belt.
January 1, 1801 Palermo G. Piazzi Dwarf planet
2 Pallas
Orbital characteristics
Aphelion 510.468 Gm
Perihelion 319.005 Gm
Semi-major axis 414.737 Gm
Eccentricity 0.231
2 Pallas is one of the largest asteroids and is located in the main asteroid belt.
March 28, 1802 Bremen H. W. Olbers Main belt

We can use a simple link in instances where the minor planet is notable and has it's own article, or the expandable table otherwise. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 16:26, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

IMHO, as a minimum you need to list the semi-major axis in AUs. Someone started a superior table to this last year. -- Kheider (talk) 15:56, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Well the point was not to focus on the details, but to look at the table as a whole. If the sub-tables are configured as a template, we can add as many rows as we want, and include a field for the semi-major axis in AUs. Therefore it is highly extensible.—RJH (talk) 21:50, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Looks good, to me. One additional thing to keep in mind here is that we don't really want a single monolithic list. There are main belt asteroids, Trojans, Trans-Neptunian Objects, etc... Or, I guess, we could do a monolithic list, but we should also break it down into appropriate groupings.
Ω (talk) 17:31, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. The current list of minor planets is organized numerically by identifier. I'm not sure if there is a better arrangement, other than perhaps alphabetically by moniker. Most of the minor planet articles are probably going to be main belt objects.—RJH (talk) 17:57, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Most are main belt objects, but not all. There are many categories by "family", for example. Not all of those groupings are especially notable, but some are (Near Earth asteroids and Trojan asteroids (and it's sub-categories), for example)
Ω (talk) 18:16, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Sorry but at this point I have to disagree. I think splitting them list in that manner would be creating a big mess, both in terms of maintenance and in terms of actual usefulness. It is better, I think, just to list them in numerical order and use categories/columns for the object grouping. Or else create separate lists and do some type of standardized redirect scheme to the numerical lists.—RJH (talk) 18:22, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not suggesting creating 100 list pages. All that I'm saying is that not every asteroid is the same. The information on what grouping an asteroid is within is notable, is all that I'm asserting. Weather we create one monolithic list, or split the list up somehow, I'm simply suggesting that grouping somehow be worked into the list. Color coding entries in some manner springs immediately to mind, for example.
Ω (talk) 18:31, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that at a minimum I'd still like to have one list of the minor objects by identifier. We can always create more lists based upon different organizations. But perhaps adding a category column to the list tables would make sense? I added that to the above table as an example.—RJH (talk) 15:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I think that will satisfy my concerns nicely... are we agreed then that a table is actually the way to go? If so, the next step is to discuss implementation (moving all of the existing pages, for example)
Ω (talk) 21:58, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I think I would like to wait a little longer to see if some of the other project members have any input. I also don't think we should necessarily move all of the minor planets; only those that don't meet the extensive coverage requirement. Finally, there is the matter of the list name. List of minor planets is already taken, for example.—RJH (talk) 22:18, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

As nobody has objected, it seems like the proposal to merge most of the asteroid information into a list is an acceptible approach. I think there are a couple of issues to settle first: (1) what to call the list, and (2) what to include in the collapsible table. For #2, I think that a straight transfer of the existing minor planet template (with corresponding field names and suitable reformatting) would cause the least amount of heartburn and excess labor.—RJH (talk) 01:20, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm not entirely convinced that a table will be able to display all available information on every asteroid, and conversion could lead to loss of content. --GW 08:42, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
    • The reason for your objection is unclear. A table will be able to display the same information as the infobox, which is itself a table. If we make the two consistent for all data fields, it should be a clean transition. But a test would be appropriate before full implementation, just to make sure. If there are show-stoppers during a test, then we can re-think the proposal. (Note that this is not intended to replace well-developed pages such as 2 Pallas. Those can just be linked.)—RJH (talk) 20:31, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
      • The table should not use collapsible sections, because it will create a serious accessibility problem. The table will be long and unreadable in browsers that do not support javascript (or if it is disabled). In addition such a table will be impossible to print without manually uncollapsing all sections. Ruslik_Zero 11:28, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
      • And what about the content in the main body of the article. While I accept that some of it can be incorporated into the table, in some cases there will be too much to present in this way. --GW 11:31, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Per your 2 Pallas comment, I seriously hope there is no intention of removing ANY asteroid article of "Start class or better". Otherwise I am against this project. -- Kheider (talk) 14:46, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Not by me, and I agree that any true non-stub article on a minor planet should be linked rather than merged. I believe a stub article has something like less than 12 lines of good text, whereas a start-class article should be non-stub. Thus 7528 Huskvarna would be a candidate for a merge whereas 2063 Bacchus would be linked. Any asteroid that can be expanded into a start class article deserves its own page.—RJH (talk) 17:13, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Many good articles start out as stubs. If all the stubs are merged, wouldn't this discourage the expansion of these articles in the future, even if sufficient content became available. Also, how would stubs with images be handled? --GW 17:35, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
    This topic is covered on Wikipedia:Merging, especially #3. As anybody is free to create an article and expand it beyond stub status, I don't see why this should be viewed as an obstacle. The same information will be presented on the merged page as on the stub pages; we're just consolidating data. Once additional information becomes available for an asteroid (thereby making it more notable), it is a trivial task to spin it back out onto a separate page again.—RJH (talk) 23:12, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #5

Goodness, I thought this whole subject had died off (? did it actually get archived and then retrieved at some point) when I had to leave it for a while due to other demands on my time. I am still quite interested, and have strong opinions, but will have to read the new material and reread some of the old before fully collecting my wits on the issues. Wwheaton (talk) 21:49, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

It never got archived, because it never got old enough to archive, since new discussions kept popping up. Like yours just did... (talk) 05:08, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Can we then try to reach consensus on the concept that all asteroids with multiple verifiable reputable external sources are intrinsically notable (and thus articles about such objects are not valid candidates for speedy deletion)? I believe this inevitably means mass (ie, speedy) deletions of the articles for numbered asteroids are inappropriate, per Wiki policy. Still, it may not be a good idea to create new stubs for objects with only minimal information. We can reduce the need for new stubs if essentially everything important can go into a table format, with links out to any objects that already have articles. So I propose:

  1. No mass deletions of existing stubs, but deprecation of mass bot-creation of new stubs.
  2. Construction of a table with essential information, linked to existing articles, potentially expandable to all wiki-notable objects.

Of course this leaves the details of the table contents and format loose for future discussion. I anticipate a lot of haggling over that (ie, what constitutes essential information), but can we at least move to a straw poll on this general scheme? Thanks -- Bill Wwheaton (talk) 08:26, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Agree -84user (talk) 14:49, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree - any asteroid only known by its orbit and brightness, with no other details should be placed in a table - they are a definite distinct separate location far removed from other locations, and are therefore notable (talk) 00:37, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Clarify my statement means that asteroids that have more information known about them do not automatically get redirected to the list. (talk) 01:59, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
My presumption was that all asteroids with numbers (which by the agreed astronomical community standards have well-determined orbits and thus must have multiple verifiable external sources) are candidates for the table, but that deletion of any article on a numbered asteroid would be linked from the table, and no such article would suffer speedy deletion but would require a deletion review. Wwheaton (talk) 16:29, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree But I think that it would be best to have both the table for some basic details and the articles for more specific things. Captain panda 01:28, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

No objections yet, but very few comments either way. Let's wait a little longer, and declare it settled? Wwheaton (talk) 02:32, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Have we decided whether or not to redirect the asteroids to the table yet or is that something for a later discussion? Captain panda 03:27, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
The proposal was (perhaps it was not very clear, so I restate my original intent) to put all numbered asteroids into a table, but to have articles on a subset of objects with more information than fits easily into a tabular format. Entries in the table with parallel articles would be linked from table to article, so that complete information would be one click away. Because the table will be large (and constantly growing), it cannot be completed immediately (though it can largely be done automatically). The decision of what objects need articles to supplement the table information would be left up to the judgment of our editors. Deletions of existing stub articles would not be done without consensus (ie, not speedy deletion), but mass creation of stubs with bots would be discouraged except perhaps in special circumstances. The actual format of the table is TBD once this general schema is agreed upon, if it is. (Several proposals have been offered, and it is not clear what will emerge, or when.) Wwheaton (talk) 06:23, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Out of curiosity I compiled a list of the computer generated asteroid stubs that I have updated:
1139 Atami: Photometric and Arecibo echo spectra = 5km companion
1217 Maximiliana: Added an image I took.
1338 Duponta: Photometric 3km companion and image of combined-system (Actually low-start class given how little is known about most photometric binaries)
1717 Arlon:Companion
2044 Wirt: Photometric 2km companion
2478 Tokai: Photometric 7km companion
3754 Kathleen: Clyde Tombaugh. Add size, rotation peroid
52975 Cyllarus: Added Keck image
11714 Mikebrown: Mention that Mikebrown is unusually eccentric and not very bright
-- Kheider (talk) 03:10, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #6

I just noticed that the WISE mid IR all-sky survey, now awaiting launch at VAFB, is predicted to discover 100,000 or more new asteroids. I thought we would have to wait for LSST for this, but it seems the deluge will be upon us sooner. Once there are visual and IR magnitudes for all these, we will have rough size estimates as well. Wwheaton (talk) 01:31, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Now that WISE is up and also because of a Spitzer Space Telescope project to measure the IR magnitudes of many more asteroids, we are likely to have albedo and size estimates for a very large number of numbered asteroids in the next year or so. Wwheaton (talk) 01:55, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

There is a suggestion below to treat exoplanets like asteroids, see one of the later discussions. (talk) 05:57, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

As an external spectator who stumbled here, is anyone currently working on the massive table that's being talked about above? Because it seems very useful to me, and I can't wait for it to come up. Buddy431 (talk) 19:17, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Good question... (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 05:39, 14 July 2010 (UTC).
Not that I'm aware. It seems too ambitious, and, after the hundred or so interesting rocks, wouldn't be very motivating. As a suggestion, we could begin with a less ambitious list and work out the kinks. For example, a list of asteroids visited by spacecraft.—RJH (talk) 16:07, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, perhaps the task could be scripted? That would eliminate most of the tedium.—RJH (talk) 21:28, 22 July 2010 (UTC)