Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




EXO WORLDS
Giant planet ejected from the solar system
by Staff Writers
Boulder CO (SPX) Nov 14, 2011


Nesvorny conducted thousands of computer simulations of the early solar system to test the jumping-Jupiter theory. He found that, as hoped for, Jupiter did in fact jump by scattering from Uranus or Neptune. When it jumped, however, Uranus or Neptune was knocked out of the solar system. "Something was clearly wrong," he says.

Just as an expert chess player sacrifices a piece to protect the queen, the solar system may have given up a giant planet and spared the Earth, according to an article recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"We have all sorts of clues about the early evolution of the solar system," says author Dr. David Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute.

"They come from the analysis of the trans-Neptunian population of small bodies known as the Kuiper Belt, and from the lunar cratering record."

These clues suggest that the orbits of giant planets were affected by a dynamical instability when the solar system was only about 600 million years old. As a result, the giant planets and smaller bodies scattered away from each other.

Some small bodies moved into the Kuiper Belt and others traveled inward, producing impacts on the terrestrial planets and the Moon. The giant planets moved as well. Jupiter, for example, scattered most small bodies outward and moved inward.

This scenario presents a problem, however. Slow changes in Jupiter's orbit, such as the ones expected from interaction with small bodies, would have conveyed too much momentum to the orbits of the terrestrial planets, stirring up or disrupting the inner solar system and possibly causing the Earth to collide with Mars or Venus.

"Colleagues suggested a clever way around this problem," says Nesvorny. "They proposed that Jupiter's orbit quickly changed when Jupiter scattered off of Uranus or Neptune during the dynamical instability in the outer solar system."

The "jumping-Jupiter" theory, as it is known, is less harmful to the inner solar system, because the orbital coupling between the terrestrial planets and Jupiter is weak if Jupiter jumps.

Nesvorny conducted thousands of computer simulations of the early solar system to test the jumping-Jupiter theory. He found that, as hoped for, Jupiter did in fact jump by scattering from Uranus or Neptune. When it jumped, however, Uranus or Neptune was knocked out of the solar system. "Something was clearly wrong," he says.

Motivated by these results, Nesvorny wondered whether the early solar system could have had five giant planets instead of four. By running the simulations with an additional giant planet with mass similar to that of Uranus or Neptune, things suddenly fell in place.

One planet was ejected from the solar system by Jupiter, leaving four giant planets behind, and Jupiter jumped, leaving the terrestrial planets undisturbed.

"The possibility that the solar system had more than four giant planets initially, and ejected some, appears to be conceivable in view of the recent discovery of a large number of free-floating planets in interstellar space, indicating the planet ejection process could be a common occurrence," says Nesvorny.

This research was funded by the National Lunar Science Institute and the National Science Foundation. The paper, "Young Solar System's Fifth Giant Planet?" by Dr. David Nesvorny was published online by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

.


Related Links
Southwest Research Institute
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EXO WORLDS
Dwarf planet sized up accurately as it blocks light of faint star
Paris (ESO) Oct 27, 2011
Astronomers have accurately measured the diameter of the faraway dwarf planet Eris for the first time by catching it as it passed in front of a faint star. This event was seen at the end of 2010 by telescopes in Chile, including the Belgian TRAPPIST telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory. The observations show that Eris is an almost perfect twin of Pluto in size. Eris appears to have a ve ... read more


EXO WORLDS
Ancient Lunar Dynamo May Explain Magnetized Moon Rocks

Ancient Lunar Dynamo May Explain Magnetized Moon Rocks

Lunar Probe to search for water on Moon

Subtly Shaded Map of Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

EXO WORLDS
NASA readies launch of 'dream machine' to Mars

Contact with Russian Mars probe 'unlikely' - expert

Mars explorers will include women, experts say

Chance of Russia Mars probe rescue 'very small': report

EXO WORLDS
Singapore family books $1 million Virgin space flight

International consensus on joint space exploration

International rendezvous in Lucca on global space exploration

Shot US lawmaker speaks out in first interview

EXO WORLDS
Second Tiangong-1 And Shenzhou-8 docking to face light interference

Made-in-Chengdu to help Shenzhou spacecraft return

What does the Tiangong 1 space station mean for China

China masters space command, control

EXO WORLDS
Russia sends astronauts back to space after mishaps

Russia launches three astronauts for space station

Russia resumes manned spaceflight after failures

Campaign Begins For Third Automated Transfer Vehicle Mission To ISS

EXO WORLDS
Air Force Opens Door to Rocket Launch Competition

International Launch Services and Eutelsat Announce Launch of the W3D Satellite in 2013

ILS and Eutelsat Announce Launch of the W3D Satellite in 2013

The second Soyuz launcher's Fregat upper stage is readied for flight

EXO WORLDS
Giant planet ejected from the solar system

Three New Planets and a Mystery Object Discovered Outside Our Solar System

Dwarf planet sized up accurately as it blocks light of faint star

Herschel Finds Oceans of Water in Disk of Nearby Star

EXO WORLDS
Android doubles smartphone market share: Gartner

Kindle Fire shipping to mixed reviews

Andrews Space Delivers Cargo Module Power Unit for Orbital's Cygnus Spacecraft

Russia Mars probe may fall to Earth in January: official




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement