Friday, November 11, 2011

The solar system may have lost a giant planet during its formation

The solar system may have had its origins five giant planets, of which one of them was driven by a jump of orbit of Jupiter, according to a study published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The article, written by Dr. David Nesvorny, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder ( USA ), describes a solar system 600 million years ago as a chaotic place in which the planets and moons were moving each orbit due to extremely unstable.

According to computer simulations of Nesvorny, based on analysis of all small bodies known as Kuiper belt and the craters of the moon, the changing dynamics of the orbits, the giant planets and small bodies caused the dispersion of the celestial bodies to different places..

According to the model, the Earth could collide with Mars or Venus small bodies moved to the Kuiper belt and the sun causing numerous impacts on the earth and moon , and Jupiter moved into the solar system, while Uranus and Neptune moved outward.

However, Nesvorny detected a problem in this model: small changes in the orbit of Jupiter would have passed too much momentum to the orbits of the terrestrial planets, which would cause the Earth could collide with Mars or Venus.

"Some colleagues have proposed a clever solution. His theory is that the orbit of Jupiter changed suddenly when away from Uranus and Neptune during the period of instability in the outer solar system, "said Nesvorny.

This model of Jupiter jump corresponds better with the current data but suggest that Uranus and Neptune would have had to be ejected from the solar system. "Something was wrong," he said Nesvorny.

To find a solution to this dilemma, the researcher decided to introduce computer simulations in the presence of five giant planets , rather than the current four (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune).

"The possibility that the solar system has had more than four giant planets and expel first one seems more conceivable, according to recent discoveries of large numbers of free-floating planets, interstellar space , which would demonstrate that the process of planetary ejection would be quite common, "said the scientist.


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