2
$\begingroup$

This question already has an answer here:

We know that, the orbit of pluto ambiguously cuts the orbit of Neptune. I want to know, whether the revolving speed of Neptune is equal to the revolving speed of pluto. If not, is there a possibility in future, that the two planets, or rather two celestial bodies will collide in future?

$\endgroup$

marked as duplicate by zibadawa timmy, Rob Jeffries, HDE 226868, Stan Liou, Wayfaring Stranger Sep 13 '15 at 13:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

5
$\begingroup$

It's hard to find a good 2 dimensional representation, but Pluto and Neptune's orbits don't actually cross.

enter image description here

In fact, the orbits (not the planets but the orbits) never get within 100 million miles (I remember reading that, but can't find a link right now). This is because Pluto's orbit is on a different plane. It's easy to represent in 3D, hard to draw in 2D, but when Pluto is effectively the same distance from the sun as Neptune it's "below" Neptune, looking at the solar system from a sideways point of view. When it's on the same plane as Neptune's orbit, which it only crosses twice in one of it's years, it's further away from the sun.

Source_1 and Source_2 and Source_3

An astronomer diagrammed the 2 objects orbits for the next 4 billion years and they don't intersect during that time. Source

But there is a quirk in the calculations. Pluto's resonance with Neptune is probably long term unstable and because of this, it's orbit could be subject to variations that leave open a Jim Carrey's chance of hitting Neptune. Source

It's very unlikely, because they're not on the same plane and they're not orbiting at the same period and they're currently in orbital resonance which they would need to fall out of to even have a chance, so it's a lottery ticket's chance of happening but it could theoretically happen, in a billion or couple billion years.

It's more likely that Pluto would fly past Neptune and have it's orbit changed, and even that's still a long shot. The most likely scenario is that they never get close, at least over the lifespan of the sun, but if they do get close, Pluto could fly further out into the solar system or closer in due to gravity assist. It might even hit Earth. But, I repeat, this is crazy-long-shot territory, but I think it's worth mentioning that it's about as likely to hit one of the inner planets as it is to hit Neptune. Jupiter being the largest, might have the best chance of being hit by Pluto.

The question is also answered here, but because everyone else was answering this question no, I wanted to point out that it's just barely possible but extremely unlikely.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.