Questions regarding the Sun and objects orbiting it.

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Could the trajectories of non-periodic comets be used to infer properties of the 'ninth planet'?

Non-periodic comets are comets which have very long orbital periods (>200 years or more), spending most of their time in the outer solar system. Planet X, recently revived by researchers at Caltech, ...
7
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4answers
186 views

How did the Earth come to be in orbit around the sun?

I'm not sure if this post should be in the physics subject forum, but this seems to fit here too. I have been reading a book about chemistry and how the universe came to be with the theory of stars ...
7
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1answer
179 views

Asteroids between Mars and Jupiter

Is the cluster of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter two dimensional as seen in every model of solar system shown in books or television? Or is it three dimensional as i think it should be?
7
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131 views

As viewed from Mars, what are Jupiter's and Saturn's maximum brightness in apparent magnitude?

From Earth, Jupiter's maximum brightness is -2.94 and Saturn's is -0.24. But what about from Mars? They should be brighter, but by how much? There are equations at the obvious wiki entry but I'm not ...
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2answers
132 views

Did the Late Heavy Bombardment Period Happen Because of a Stellar System Collision?

I was thinking about the impending collision between M31 and the milky way galaxy, and I've heard that since a galaxy is mostly space most of the contents of both galaxies would be just fine. Could a ...
7
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1answer
151 views

Effect of Charon on Pluto

Even though Pluto is not known as a planet anymore, theroetically it has/had a moon, called Charon. I've heard about something that their size are so close to each other that while Charon rotates ...
7
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2answers
1k views

If a person were to die on the Moon or Mars, would the body decompose?

There wouldn't be enough oxygen for any bacteria to decompose the body, right? Not to mention, the radiation of space might kill off most organisms on it. So would it decompose, given millions of ...
7
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1answer
129 views

Have Pluto or any of its moons been mapped?

I was looking over some of the data for the terrestrial planets, and noticed that Venus, despite its cloud covering, had been mapped by the Arecibo Observatory. Also that other planets such as mars, ...
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2answers
168 views

Ninth planet - what else could it be?

So recently it was announced that there might be a ninth planet out there. Some people (from NASA) say the odds are 50% that it is a real planet, since it hasn't been discovered by telescopes yet. ...
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2answers
317 views

Why does the Solar System have no (natural) satellites of satellites?

What are the conditions for a planetary moon to have a satellite of its own? How far do the Solar System's bodies fall from the necessary threshold?
6
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1answer
463 views

Why do the planets orbit in the same direction?

Theoretically, planets would have an approximately equal chance of going one way in their orbit or another but in reality, this is not the case (at least in our solar system). Why is this?
6
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91 views

Do planets migrate suddenly or gradually?

Current models of the configurations of the planets conclude that Neptune once migrated outwards. AFAIK this refurbishment came about by Jupiter and Saturn gradually getting into and leaving a ...
6
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157 views

Official Definition of Satellite?

So I had an argument with a friend, which was about whether the Moon is a planet or a satellite. IAU 2006 Resolution B5 gives definitions on what it is to be a planet, but there is a vagueness, as I ...
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2answers
200 views

How unusual is the solar system?

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, the main characters are looking for the long-lost Earth. There are two major features of the solar system that seem to make it unusual among the millions of ...
6
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1answer
59 views

Is there a pattern between the mass of a body and the mass of orbiting objects around it?

I was looking at Wikipedia's Solar system page, and it says that Sun represents 99.86% of the whole solar system mass. I found that pretty huge. So i calculated ratio of masses : Earth / (Earth + ...
6
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2answers
152 views

Standard practices and models for generating the ephemerides of the solar system

I am familiar with the theory on generating the positions of the members of the solar system, but have been unable to find out the standard practices and methods of professional astronomers in ...
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2answers
663 views

What is the maximum number of planets in the habitable zone?

At present, it seems like we are alone in our solar system. How many earth-like planets would fit into the habitable zone of the solar system? The orbits should be stable for quite a time, i.e. for ...
6
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1answer
164 views

Best approximation for Sun's trajectory around galactic center?

What is the current best approximation for the path the Sun takes around the center of the Milky Way? I have found some information on the approximate position of the Milky Way's center, the speed of ...
6
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1answer
64 views

What does observational evidence say about the number of protoplanets believed to exist in the early solar system?

Currently, the solar system has 8 major planets, a handful of dwarf planets and a plethora of asteroids, comets and natural debris, and of course, a rather locally dominant star (the Sun). There are ...
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4answers
199 views

Image sets for testing stacking algorithms?

I am looking for sets of astronomical images for testing different kinds of stacking algorithms. The idea is simple: if one has $N$ images of the same object, the signal-to-noise ratio of the ...
5
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4answers
557 views

Do solar systems have to evolve in a galaxy?

Is it possible for a solar system like ours to exist and evolve apart from all other star systems and galaxies. Sort of like a stand alone solar system or rogue solar system for lack of a better name. ...
5
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2answers
485 views

Why do the planets in the Solar system stay in the same orbital plane?

An earlier question addressed why all planets formed in the same orbital plane, but how is this angle maintained? What prevents the planets from taking on a different orbital plane?
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391 views

What would happen if we stepped on the Sun?

I mean in intrinsic detail. What would happen to our bodies besides "burst into flames"?
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13k views

How much magnification is needed to see planets of solar system?

I have a 3inch Newtonian reflector telescope with 300 mm focal length. I can use highest magnification of 75x using a 4mm eyepiece. But in 75x I can't see details of Jupiter what was expected. Instead ...
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3answers
650 views

How did our ancestors discover the Solar System?

I wonder, how did our ancestors discover the Solar System? They did not have any telescopes to see distant objects, right? Even a planet looks like a star from a distance. They discovered the ...
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2answers
140 views

Is Earth slowing down in order to stay on its orbital track?

The Sun is losing some of its mass during explosions. The Gravitational force between Sun and Earth will change (probably decrease). If Earth maintains its speed, it will change its orbit. Hence, ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Why does the darkening of the Moon go from left-to-right during an eclipse?

In anticipation of the upcoming April 2014 lunar eclipse, I decided to use the 3D virtual planetarium software Stellarium to simulate what it is supposed look like where I live, since I've never ...
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3answers
179 views

Is it possible to disprove geocentrism without telescopes?

The development of telescopes enabled the discovery of moons orbiting around Jupiter, and the existence of a full set of phases of Venus, as opposed to a limited set which would be predicted by ...
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3answers
201 views

Why do the gas giants in the Solar System have comparatively large orbits compared to the inner planets?

Ever since I observed the depictions of the Solar System, I was obsessed with the question of why the gas giants (outer planets) have very large orbits, compared to the planets that are closer to the ...
5
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1answer
70 views

Is Ceres in the inner solar system or outer solar system?

Do we consider the dwarf planet Ceres to be in the inner solar system or outer solar system (or possibly neither / in between). It is located within the asteroid belt, but is the asteroid belt part ...
5
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1answer
221 views

Can we calculate the average temperature of the heliosphere?

It is my understanding that one can measure the temperature of the universe by measuring cosmic microwave background radiation. Could we also use this method for calculating the average temperature of ...
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2answers
130 views

Do most planetary systems have fewer planets than the solar system?

It is my impression that most planetary systems have, at most, three to four planets. Is that real? Or is it just that we lack the ability to detect most planets?
5
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1answer
374 views

How can a planet have a 90° inclination?

Planetary systems as we understand it exist from a disk of mass when the parent star is young. That's why all our planets are in the same plane, or close to it. See also Why is the solar system ...
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4answers
538 views

Where can I find a set of data of the initial conditions of our solar system?

As title suggests I'm in need of a set of data of our solar system. Similar to this http://bima.astro.umd.edu/nemo/archive/#iau25, specifically dubinsky milky way-andromeda data. I'm creating a n-...
5
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1answer
759 views

Are Barlow lenses stackable for bright objects?

I'm back to the refractor that I own, and I want to maximize the zoom capacity. I realized today that I own more than one barlow lens, and I was wondering if I could stack them together for looking at ...
5
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3answers
225 views

What proportion of planetary systems have been found with 'Hot Jupiters'

According to the NASA website "The strange attraction of Hot Jupiters", one of the main types of exoplanets that have been detected are Hot Jupiters, which are These are behemoth worlds that ...
5
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3answers
166 views

How to scale down solar system data to simulatable values

Okay, I am seriously ashamed for asking this especialy when I geniualy study on physics but there is something that bugs me with the simulation I am working on. I am re-creating the solar system in ...
5
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1answer
75 views

Source of T Tauri wind?

What particularly causes the T Tauri star to eject the strong bipolar wind which clears the gases around the star?
5
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129 views

What good evidence exists for the 9th planet as spoken of by Caltech?

I'm sure Caltech has answered this in some way, but I think it's a good question have on this site. What good evidence exists for the 9th planet as spoken of by Caltech? As I see it, Caltech has ...
5
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1answer
73 views

Oscillation in tilt of the solar system

I know that the solar system is tilted 62.6┬░ to the plane of the galaxy. I'm curious whether this angle changes over time, and what are the extents and time frame of any such oscillations if they ...
5
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2answers
88 views

Meteorites bring water

The latest information suggests that Earth's water came from Meteorites . The Moon was also bombarded by Meteorites and yet it has no water. Is this because it lacks an atmosphere and its water was ...
5
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1answer
125 views

Composition of planets' core

It is often possible to find a list of the materials that compose the cores and the mantle of plantes (often they are iron and/or nickel). How can these materials be determined in our Solar system? ...
5
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3answers
210 views

Galactic Habitable Zone

Do galaxies have habitable zones the same as stars do? Say in a galaxy with a very active nucleus producing a lot of heat and radiation, would there be a point at which no star's planets could harbor ...
4
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3answers
2k views

What's the likelihood of the existence of unknown elements in the Solar System?

What's the chance that there might be undiscovered chemical elements in the Solar System - either on planets or around the Sun or on asteroids of the Oort-cloud?
4
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1answer
315 views

Do the planets, asteroid belt, kuiper belt, and scattered disc lie on the same plane?

If not, do any of the four groups in the title lie on the same plane as other members of the group? E.g. does the asteroid belt lie on the same plane as the planets do?
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3answers
331 views

What would happen if a rogue planet hit one of the planets in our Solar System?

As their are millions of rogue planets in the Milky Way, what would happen if one hit a planet in the Solar System. For example, if the rogue planet hit Pluto, would Pluto fall in to the Sun due to ...
4
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1answer
190 views

How is it that all planets (and moons) in our solar system are in equilibrium orbits?

Previously, I was told that in order for any bodies to orbit each other for over a long period of time, the orbital period, distance and masses have to be precisely matched such that the bodies won't ...
4
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1answer
145 views

Solar System formation, considering its and universe's age

It's been said that the Sun is 4.6 billion years old, and the complete Solar System is of a similar age. The class of stars to which the Sun belongs seems to be quite common. Stars of its class can ...
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516 views

Why, in the Solar System, all the mass seems to be concentrated at the centre?

Is this a consequence of planet formation in accretion disks ?
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1answer
90 views

How did Batygin estimate when Planet Nine was ejected?

Konstantin Batygin has estimated that if Planet Nine was ejected, it would have been ejected 3-10 million years after the formation of the Solar System. I'm curious as to how he arrived at this ...