Questions tagged [solar-system]

Questions regarding the Sun and objects orbiting it.

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1answer
90 views

River-like artifact in perseverance rover's photo of Mars

Good to know that perseverance rover has touched the surface of Mars finally. We will have nice new opportunity window for exploring our closest "friendly" planet of solar system. Here's one ...
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Energetics of Titans Tholin haze

So, I've googled and wiki'd on this, but no clue, so I turn my question to the community: Given Titan's nice orange haze that is supposedly composed of Tholins and strangely coincides with its ...
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Is there evidence for galactic “seasons”?

The Solar Year has huge effects on our climate, and the signs of passing seasons are physically evident on Earth. I recently learned about the Galactic Year. To my understanding, our sun orbits the ...
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2k views

How is it possible for a collision to be responsible for Uranus's axial tilt?

I realize that the collision explanation is in any case highly (purely?) speculative, but I'm curious how it would work. If Uranus is a ball of gas, why wouldn't any colliding object just pass ...
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What Causes the Large Radiation Fields Around Jupiter?

I had heard that the large radiation belts around Jupiter may be formed by liquid metallic hydrogen in (or around) Jupiter's core (which Wikipedia says haven't been observed in labs yet due to the ...
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Precision in the space navigation [migrated]

I am curious about the precision NASA and other agencies have in the space navigation. Are they always accurate to the meter in position they aim for; in mission like the recent rover landing on the ...
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Why is our solar system “tipped” about 63° with respect to the plane of our galaxy?

Our own solar system is "tipped" by about 63 degrees with respect to the plane of the galaxy. Has it ever been researched or is there any scientific theory which could explain the reason why our solar ...
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57 views

North Stars of each Solar system planet?

What are the North Stars of each individual body points too? E.g. Earth points to Polaris. Mars points to Deneb/Alpha Cygni. What about Sun, Mercury, Venus, Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, ...
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Sample bias' contribution to “Planet 9” hypothesis, why was this not thoroughly addressed before?

Science Claim for giant 'Planet Nine' at Solar System's edge takes a hit arXiv No Evidence for Orbital Clustering in the Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects The brightness of distant solar system objects ...
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Why is Mercury's Density So Low?

I know the title sounds odd. You might be thinking "Doesn't Mercury have the highest uncompressed density of any terrestrial planet? Much higher than a planet its size normally should have?&...
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Explaining the Drake Equation on a smaller scale

So me and my friend were planning a video to explain the Drake Equation (within a time limit of 5 minutes), and we needed some help. This video is aimed at explaining the concept to an age group ...
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1answer
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Why do the solar system planets go rock-gas-ice instead of rock-ice-gas when moving away from the sun?

The sun and the solar wind seem to do a good job of fractionating lighter materials to the outer solar system and leaving heavier materials in the inner solar system. So we end up with rocky/metallic ...
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What is happening with these solar particles detected near the Sun that is so newsworthy?

Phys.org's Team identifies low-energy solar particles from beyond Earth near the Sun links to the open access ApJ article Properties of Suprathermal-through-energetic He Ions Associated with Stream ...
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Why do (most of) the planets rotate counterclockwise, i.e. the same way the Sun does?

Referring to the mechanisms explaining the solar system formation and to the initial rotation of the gaseous cloud that collapsed, I understand easily why the planets orbit the Sun the same way this ...
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115 views

What are the Time Zones on Mercury?

I normally post on worldbuilding, but this question is merely about facts of a planets orbit and spin. I am trying to figure out how time periods work on Mercury to possibly make a worldbuilding guide ...
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1answer
171 views

Calendar year versus Tropical year

I'm wondering about the convention for keeping the calendar year in sync with the tropical (exact) year. I did a preliminary calculation, but, it seems to be out by more than the average calendar ...
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If the fifth gas giant in the early Solar System was completely ejected, where would it be now?

I've read about the possible 5th gas giant in the Solar System, and about its ejection. However, I have not seen anything about its potential whereabouts. Assume this gas giant (let's call it G5) was ...
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56 views

Recently, the most distant object in the solar system was discovered. How was this accomplished?

It was recently announced that the most distant object in our solar system was discovered. This object averages 132 AU from the sun. The object, initially named Farfarout, was estimated to be 400 km ...
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Earth shape and rotation

Imagine a helicopter that took off from point A and goes vertically in the air to a certain fixed point B in the atmospheric area at a certain fixed altitude with enough fuel to stay there (at point ...
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2answers
362 views

The most feasible hypothesis about Theia

The formation of the Moon had many hypothesis over the years, most of them involving a Mars-sized body called Theia, which presumably collided with the Earth. But even within the Theia hypothesis, is ...
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654 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 an ...
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1k 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 ...
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Do moons of rocky oblate planets migrate to low inclination over time? If so, does the time it takes depend on the Moon's size?

Discussions elsewhere suggest that this happens and that smaller moons would tend to low inclination with respect to the planet's equator faster than larger ones. For example, Mars' small moons are ...
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Feasibility of Grand Tack Hypothesis

Something I've been wondering lately is how much the grand tack hypothesis stands up to present scrutiny. While the grand tack proposes that Jupiter and Saturn were caught in a 3:2 mean-motion ...
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What is the antonym of “closest approach”?

The distance from Earth to Mars, during their closest approach, is about 55 million kilometers. At their furthest apart, that distance would be about 401 million kilometers. Distance at closest ...
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48 views

Is the mass of Kuiper belt dominated by large objects?

There is a problem in my example sheet trying to teach me distributions. My result is that Kuiper belt objects are dominated by large mass objects. Is this supported by observational evidence?
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Do the orbits of planets change? Where is the data for this?

Everything in the space is moving all the time. Do the orbit of major Solar Systems planets, Mercury to Saturn change? Just like Moon's orbit around Earth changes. How often, how small or big is the ...
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Do some comets spin? If so, how fast?

The GIF below is copied from my question earlier What might a CN filter be in the context of comet watching? Is it showing dust, or gas, or something else? where I'd said: In this post on the website ...
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What is the upper bound of number of stable interacting stars in a star system?

I remember very well reading in an article that it's impossible to have a stable star system of 4 or more stars. The article justified its claim discussing about the complexity such systems would have ...
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1answer
124 views

Which will destroy the Earth first: the Sun or Jupiter?

The sun is expected to grow in brightness over time, slowly heating the Earth until the oceans evaporate, leaving the planet uninhabitable. Jupiter is the source of the largest perturbations to Earth'...
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Sun's and planets' inclination to the Invariable plane

What are the inclinations of all major Solar system planets (Mercury to Pluto) to the invariable plane? Looking for accurate data calculated on them. Also, What is the inclination of the Sun to the ...
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What if a planet or another star or ¨sun¨ collided with our sun? [duplicate]

Stellar collisions are a well-studied phenomenon in Astronomy, albeit mostly theoretically. In some cases the merger of two low-mass stars can result in a new star plus new planets around it. But what ...
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706 views

Calculating the Angular Momentum of a planet

I want to calculate the Angular Momentum of any planet at any point on the orbit around the Sun. Example: I want to calculate the Angular Momentum of Pluto today, on Jan 27, 2021 00:00:00 Hrs Where ...
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Is it at all possible for the sun to revolve around as many barycenters as we have planets in our solar system?

Though it is understandable that the sun and the earth may be revolving around a barycenter, but, if so, not only the sun and Jupiter should also be revolving around some barycenter, the same should ...
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How many planets are there in this solar system?

So, in school (that's a long time ago) they have been teaching us there are 9 planets in our solar system. Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto But every now and then I keep ...
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Moment of inertia factor of Venus and Pluto

Wikipedia's Moment of inertia factor begins: In planetary sciences, the moment of inertia factor or normalized polar moment of inertia is a dimensionless quantity that characterizes the radial ...
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How many solar system objects that can really qualify as a KBO are likely to enter Pluto's Hill sphere each day?

A comment below Which celestial body is able to come closest to Pluto? says that Technically, many, many small Kuiper belt objects enter Pluto's Hill Sphere (or sphere of influence SOI) every day. ...
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does the orientation of orbital plane of our solar system rotate with the galaxy

As I understand it, our solar system travels through the milky way with the orbital plane tilted about 60 degrees so that we are sort of traveling in the direction of earth's north. My question is if ...
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198 views

Where is the Solar system's barycenter located?

Where is the Solar system's barycenter located? The solar system as a whole, Where is the center of the mass for the combined mass of the Sun, inner planets, and gas giants, is it inside the Sun? Is ...
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Ptolemy’s understanding of the planet’s whereabouts

I imagine that Ptolemy’s epicycles were performed as real circles - around equants - in two dimensions, e.g that he was able not only to give the angles to planets and the Sun as seen from the Earth, ...
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When I see Mars, I see only red light

I have a 700 mm focal and 76 mm aperture telescope. I bought it a few days ago. I tried to spot Mars for 3 days but I only see red light. I use an 20 mm eyepiece for finding it and 4 mm eyepiece for ...
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Why do planets and satellites in the Solar system look so wildly different if they came from more or less the same matter?

First, the planets. We have Mercury, which is rocky, no atmosphere. But then we have Venus, which is completely different: thick atmosphere, very hot, geologically active. Then Earth - blue, full of ...
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944 views

What is the orbital period of our sun around its barycenter?

In years, what is the time it takes our sun to orbit around our solar system's barycenter?
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697 views

What Would it Look Like Inside Jupiter's Great Red Spot?

From what I've read, Jupiter's 'Great Red Spot' is an unbelievably powerful storm. Do astronomers and scientists have any idea of what that might look like if it were possible to be inside/below it? ...
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1answer
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Is Jupiter really shepherding the main belt, and Neptune the Kuiper belt?

By "dominating another object's orbit" my understanding is that the most massive body's gravity has so much influence that, when they come close, it makes the other body/bodies' orbits shift ...
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1answer
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How precisely we know the Gaia spacecraft baseline? [Question related to Planet 9 and the cosmic distance ladder]

The European Space Agency mission Gaia is performing an outstanding job by measuring the parallaxes of almost 2 billion stars, many of which are thousands of light years away from the Sun. For this ...
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Launch windows for Venus transit; how to convert heliocentric longitudes to date?

Being a bit familiar with celestial mechanics, I know that the Hohmann transfer orbit is the quickest way to transfer between two circular orbits of different radii around a central body in the same ...
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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 ...
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What is the YORP effect exactly? Is it just the non-central component of the Yarkovsky effect?

This answer to Where have all the Vulcanoids gone? links to the aptly-titled The YORP Effect Can Efficiently Destroy 100 Kilometer Planetesimals At The Inner Edge Of The Solar System which says in ...
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When will all eight planets in our solar system align?

Ignoring expansion of the universe, entropy, decaying orbits, and interference from any bodies colliding with or otherwise interfering with their orbits, will the eight planets known planets in our ...

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