I am a fifth (and last) year undergraduate student in Physics with good level of Mathematics formation and basic Astrophysics formation. I recently read some theories about Solar System formation and evolution and became interested in planetary stability, but I couldn't manage to get a good introduction to the topic.

I was wondering if there is a standard book or resource that approach this topic with precision that you could recommend. Any advice will be welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ This might be obvious, but the Wikipedia article on this lists 14 sources. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_of_the_Solar_System#References I wouldn't know which of them to recommend though. Some of them might be highly mathematical cause they need super-computers to try to calculate long term orbits of more than two objects. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Jan 11, 2016 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @userLTK Thank you, I think I'll start there and see where I end. I'll try to answer the question afterward is there is no answer yet. $\endgroup$
    – Javier
    Jan 12, 2016 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


The book by Dvorak et al. 2006 "Chaos and Stability in Planetary Systems" is a good place to start (as with many titles by Dvorak), but reviewing and studying recent(ish) published work about the topic can greatly enhance understanding of the topic. For example:

Malhotra et al. 2011, Chaos and stability of the solar system, PNAS (full text online) - this article explores the notion that there may be a significant element of chaos in the planetary orbits. A small snippet from the abstract:

Over the last two decades, there has come about a recognition that chaotic dynamics is pervasive in the solar system. We now understand that the orbits of small members of the solar system—asteroids, comets, and interplanetary dust—are chaotic and undergo large changes on geological time scales. Are the major planets' orbits also chaotic? The answer is not straightforward, and the subtleties have prompted new questions.

In a similar vein, the article: Barnes and Quinn, 2004, The (In)stability of Planetary Systems, The Astrophysical Journal (full PDF online),

present results of numerical simulations that examine the dynamical stability of known planetary systems, a star with two or more planets.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .