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A previous question brought me to this video (which has a spectacular change at about 0:34). It shows the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and what appear to be trans-Neptunian objects.

Early on, though, something curious happens. From about 0:01.5 seconds to 0:03 seconds (the equivalent of ~75 million years), there is a distinct circular gap in the outer disk of objects. It reminds me of gaps in circumstellar disks made by exoplanets, but as far as I know, the Nice model does not deal with extra planets - and neither does the nebular hypothesis. At least, not in the Solar System.

enter image description here

What's the cause of this gap?


After some thought, I've guessed that these might be the equivalent of the Kirkwood gaps in the present-day asteroid, belt, caused by destructive orbital resonances with Jupiter. These might be due to resonances with Neptune or Uranus - which makes sense, because they immediately disappear once Neptune (at first closer to the Sun than Uranus) interacts with the inner gas giants and begins migrating outwards. However, I'm not sure of my guess.

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Some of the bodies gain enough mass to have a stronger gravitational pull than the distant smaller ones causing them to pull and collect the smaller near by bodies

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Given what I just looked up regarding this research I would guess they accounted for numerical stability and other such issues. Regardless, in such circumstances it is really hard to offer a reasonable answer to such a question based only on single snapshot. The clustering in some places and gaps in other could be coincidental, as the other answer suggested when clustering occurs the strength of that region grows. But really this is all speculation. If I had my hands on the simulation and/or the data I'd start calculating local densities and testing out these hypotheses. I'd also want to see the source code and make sure there isn't a bug leading to erroneous conclusions. I'm sure the authors are smart and diligent but everyone makes mistakes.

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    $\begingroup$ How does this actually answer the question, beyond your own speculations? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ I would say the question as stated us senseless and I don't have enough rep to comment. None of my comments are speculation they are based on a career of developing numerical methods for physics simulations. There is not enough info in the question to determine exactly what cased the effect mentioned. $\endgroup$
    – user324334
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 0:28
  • $\begingroup$ to quote your answer: “But really this is all speculation.” $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ I am referring to the other answers and any other statement that could be made. The question needs editing. I am offering a path to understanding the phenomenon by getting the code and reviewing it generating test data using it. $\endgroup$
    – user324334
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 1:44

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