1
vote
0answers
31 views

Sedna, VP113 and the likelihood of the PX/Tyche/Thelistos hypotheses

The recent discoveries in exoplanetary science (specially those findings of planets orbiting far far away from its parent star/stars) raise questions about how much we know about the (true, AIU ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Changes in planetary orbit?

Forgive a novice and her naive curiosity, but I was wondering about planetary orbit and the aging of planets. As a planet ages, does its transit around its sun/star decrease or increase in speed? ...
2
votes
2answers
233 views

Why do we orbit around the sun instead of one the other stars?

I am still very new to many physics theories, however while sat in class today, a thought came to mind that I have not been able to answer from simple googling. What is so specific about our sun ...
1
vote
6answers
841 views

Why does the moon not revolve around the sun directly?

The sun pulls on the moon with a force that is more than twice the magnitude of the force with which the earth attracts the moon. Why, then, doesn’t the sun take the moon away from the earth?
7
votes
3answers
222 views

Can a planet form before the parent star ignites?

I'm unable to find an answer to my questions via my searches. This questions pertains to the timeline of a star system creation. My question: During the creation of a star system, can satellite ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

Mercury's orbit

Mercury has a weird orbit, it's elliptical orbit rotates around an axis, but for no reason. My question is why? What is causing this?
3
votes
1answer
276 views

Is nuclear fusion possible on planets in our Solar system?

Apart from thermo-nuclear reactions in the Sun, (and in hydrogen bombs and other methods developed by scientists) does nuclear fusion occur naturally in the planets? If not, why? Also, do the Sun ...
-8
votes
1answer
120 views

Is Pluto made out of ice? [closed]

Is Pluto made out of ice--as in frozen water? If so, wouldn't that provide evidence for alien life in the cosmos?
1
vote
2answers
169 views

What's the weight of the earth?

What's the weight of the earth? That is, what's the weight of the earth in the gravitational field of the sun? I imagine it's either $0$, because there's no net fall toward the sun, so the downward ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Has martian sunset same spectra than this earthly bluish-violet sunset?

Has martian sunset same spectra than this earthly bluish-violet sunset? What about sunset on Mercury?
0
votes
1answer
560 views

Where do planets get energy to revolve around sun?

We know that every planet in our solar system revolve's around the sun in a particular orbit. But were to they get the energy to revolve around the sun. And why do they not drop into the sun there is ...
12
votes
1answer
257 views

Relationship between Mars and Earth rotation

Is it by pure random chance that Mars and the Earth have nearly the same day duration (Mars day is barely 40 minutes longer, which is just 3% difference), or there is some causal relationship between ...
2
votes
1answer
878 views

Where to find the current positions and velocities of the planets?

I've written a program which simulates the motions of planets and other bodies. I'd like to run it on our own solar system, but to do so I need to know the current positions (preferably in ...
4
votes
3answers
242 views

Can one predict mass distribution in a solar system given the mass of the star?

I'm trying to write a program to procedurally generate solar systems at a reasonably high level (I'm not interested in doing an n-body dust particle formation simulation). Is there some sort of ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are the orbits of the planets in our solar system along the same basic plane? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? After watching this video I realized that the orbits of the planets in our solar system ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Direction of planetary tilt

I am building a 3d solar system simulation using WebGL and have come across the problem of establishing the direction of tilt of the various planets. No I know the tilt of the planets in degrees what ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation?

How do the Planets and Sun get their initial rotation? Why do Venus and Mercury rotate so slowly compared to other planets and why does Venus rotate in a different direction to Mercury, Earth and ...
-1
votes
1answer
118 views

How can you calculate the exact position of the Earth taking into account the gravitational attraction of Mars and the Sun?

I think there must be a formula to calculate the exact position of the Earth taking into account the gravitational attraction of Mars and the Sun. Is it possible with vectors?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What would happen to Earth if Saturn were to exit the Solar System?

Suppose Saturn simply vanished. How would that affect the rest of the Solar System, specifically Earth?
9
votes
1answer
152 views

Are Uranus and Neptune too big for their location?

So I was watching some TV, and I heard Dr. Plait mention that the planets Uranus and Neptune are too big to be located so far out in our solar system. Now, I heard his explanation on the show as to ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do the planets' orbital distances fall on an exponential curve?

Background: I was recently reading a book on the planets to my son and I noticed a pattern in the distributions of the planets. The planets' distances roughly follow an exponential distribution. ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

How long does it take for radio or light waves to travel from Earth to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto?

I know it roughly takes 20 minutes from Earth to Mars, and 8 minutes from the Sun to Earth, but don't know how long for the other planets on my list.
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How many Pluto sized planetoids have been discovered?

How many planetoids have been discovered that are, say, 50% the size of Pluto or larger? Where are they? Incidentally, what is the difference between a planet, a planetoid, and an asteroid?
7
votes
1answer
83 views

How plausible is a subsurface ocean on Pluto?

According to this article on physorg.com, it's likely that Pluto has a subsurface ocean of liquid water. It suggests that the ocean would be about 165 km deep, under an equally deep crust of solid ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why Aren't Saturn's Rings Clumping into Moons?

While reading with my son about how a Mars-like planet collided with the early Earth that resulted in our current moon, it said the initial debris also formed a ring, but that ring ended up getting ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the irregularity in Uranus' orbit that is caused by Neptune?

I carefully read the Wikipedia article Discovery of Neptune, and I don't get what the irregularity of Uranus orbit was that lead to the discovery of Neptune. Years ago, I watched some educational film ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

How do the day/night temperature variations of moons compare to those of their planets?

Does the planet's eclipse have a significant impact on the flux of light hitting the moon? Does tidal locking have any effect on the day-night difference of the planet?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Is a water world possible, and for how long could it be stable?

I have several questions regarding this topic. First, could a water world be stable for thousands of years with most of its surface remaining covered in water. What would it take for this to be ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Are the inner planets on planar orbits because there was more dust in the inner solar system (early on in planetary accretion)?

Question inspired by a question thread here. So when there's lots of dust in a galaxy, the galaxy tends to collapse into a spiral galaxy (to maintain angular momentum and to minimize gravitational ...
4
votes
1answer
54 views

Vesta dwarf planet status

Now that we have close-up photos of Vesta, which the IAU had previously said was a candidate dwarf planet, when is the IAU going to decide the issue? Personally, Vesta doesn't look round enough to me. ...
18
votes
2answers
8k views

Is Jupiter a failed star?

In my physics lessons, my teachers have always been keen to tell my class that Jupiter is considered a 'failed star' by scientists. Is this true? In my own effort I wondered if maybe this could just ...
15
votes
3answers
725 views

Why is Uranus's axis of rotation tilted?

The poles of Uranus are 'in the wrong place', why is this? historically, do we have any evidence of its past? also, do we have an understanding of how its rotational axis might be evolving?
2
votes
2answers
227 views

Solar System Capture of Orphan Planets

NASA recently announced (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/planet20110518.html) that orphan planets, planets no longer orbiting a star, may be more numerous than the stars in our galaxy. ...