# SolvedWill the Planets Ever Align?

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#### aphh

##### Guest
Thanks for your thoughts, you are right in that planets and their orbits resonate at certain frequency, because the orbits are Keplerian, which means that the square of the orbital period is directly proportional to the cube of the orbit's semi-major axis.

If you plot the planets and their mean distance from the sun and the orbital period, you'll get a nice even slope. This suggests that the planets must align at some point, but because the orbits are more elliptical than circular, calculus and integrals are needed to precisely solve this. Integrals take into equation all of the orbital parameters.

On another note, planet alignment is equivalent to having two spacecrafts rendez-vous in space, only there is no propulsion to throw into equation when dealing with planets and celestial mechanics. For example, when ATV passed ISS below on a lower orbit, they aligned momentarily so they also had a synodic period (if the orbits were stable for long enough, that is).

Edit: accurate planetary alignment can only occur, if the resonance happens at the same angular position than what was considered an alignment previously. Eccentricity caused by elliptical orbits makes the objects relative velocity vary depending on how close or far away from perigee they are, even if they still travel the same total distance during orbital period.

This is why Sun is not constantly in the south at noon, but sometimes slightly before noon and sometimes slightly after noon depending on our current location on the ecliptica. The deviation is +- a few minutes during a year.

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#### bushwhacker

##### Guest
meteor wayne: i agree with your last post up until the last line.
what do you base your assumptions on that without jupiter in that orbit things would have evolved differently?

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#### R1

##### Guest

MeteorWayne":28hka0gb said:
Yes they are. However, around other stars they are at different distances from the star. Our solar system was shaped more than anything else by Jupiter's existance. It has more mass than everything else other than the sun in our system combined. It has shaped how our system evolved. In stars that don't have a Jupiter in a 12 year nearly circular orbit, things evolved very differently.

I wonder if just as common as asteroid belts are, so are the belts followed by gas giant(s), you know?
It's likely quite common to find the gas based giants like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune past asteroid belts.*

I think large (giant) amounts of gas tend to accumulate rather early farther out than 1AU due to solar wind at least.
.

*These thoughts only pertain to single 2nd gen. stars like ours, though.

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#### R1

##### Guest
Within the solar system alone, I think there is more Hydrogen, Oxygen, Water, and Methane than
mankind could ever need in Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune !

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
bushwhacker":2jp2umxf said:
meteor wayne: i agree with your last post up until the last line.
what do you base your assumptions on that without jupiter in that orbit things would have evolved differently?
Our solar system is far different from most that we have discovered so far. We have Jupiter, with ~ 70% of the mass of everything in the solar system other than the sun, in a near circular 12 year orbit. Most systems we have found have Jupiter masses in highly eccentric orbits; these would tend to eject most of the objects in the system either into the star or out of the system. Most of them are in orbits very close to the star (part of that is a discovery bias from the types of searches we've been able to conduct so far), far different than our setup.

We have found few systems much like ours. That doesn't mean they don't exist, we may just not have found more than a few yet. Jove is King in keeping our system orderly. Small objects were cleaned out early so we are not constantly bombarded by asteroids, and now it enhances the stability of the system. That may be rare, it may not be. Kepler will start to help answer this question, though it is really tuned for finding 1 year orbits, not 12 year ones.

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#### the_unknown

##### Guest
Thinking like a theorist, I cannot accept any explanation as to the formation of the asteroid belt. I have many theories to why it exists, which some have been shot down without any dis-proof (please do)...

These are a few, they are all independent from one another, so as not to get confused that any of the theories are linked in any way, except that they all are based on the four forces of our universe (gravity, magnetic, dark energy and dark matter) to place the non-spherical debris into uniform orbits.

1. Jupiter was really a brown dwarf (not sure if the name is scientifically correct, please correct me) that was a star that never really 'became' like our Sun, but kind of in the middle of current classifications of stars and planets. This would mean Jupiter slowly and steadily lost mass, while being in a collision course with our Sun, but at the same time that it's losing mass. Jupiter's orbiting debris colliding with other objects in space (Neptune, which may have helped create the Oort Cloud as well) created the asteroid belt by means of gravitational pull and the destruction of colliding debris from our Sun's once binary system called the Sun-Jupiter System.

2. The Sun's magnetic field, wobbling collected our solar system's smallest chunks of debris at that specific distance from it, along with the gravitational force from Jupiter.

3. The Big Bang happened which created everything, of course. The debris along the forefront of all debris heading away from the centralized point from where the 'Bang' occurred, created an (equal and opposite reaction) opposite attraction which we may see as black holes, or if not black holes, then dark matter / energy. This implosion effect, if you will, produced a quickened cooling (loss of heat) for all debris and matter in our universe. These objects, smaller than microscopic in relation to the total universe, are the "loose" particles that have constantly bombarded and disrupted what we call planetary formation. These particles, were dispersed uniformly amongst the universe because of the Big Bang and will be found in all stellar systems where the weakest of the universe's forces (gravitational and magnetic) position them within the respective stellar system. Any newer stellar system, will have a less defined "belt" of debris, while older stellar systems may not have a ring at all, but a handful of planets with battered surfaces, or a planet (like Mars) that likes to collect these types of objects on its surface.

The asteroid belt topic would be a great topic discussion. Let me know if anyone starts one.

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
All of your ideas, to be blunt, are ridiculous, and fly in the face of all eveidence of how stellar systems, as well as out won, form.

1. How would Jupiter lose mass? If Jupiter was on a collision course with our sun, it would not be in the nearly circular orbit that it is today.

2. The material in the asteroid belt, while having iron content, it far too far away from the sun to have it's obit affected by emagnetic effects. Physics 101.

3. The Big Bang occurred 8 billion years before th sun formed, and made only Hydrogen, Helium, and a tiny bit of Lithium.

Everything else has been created by the earlier generation of stars.

Welcome to Space.com!

Wayne

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#### the_unknown

##### Guest
MeteorWayne":3cz9g0yf said:
1. How would Jupiter lose mass? If Jupiter was on a collision course with our sun, it would not be in the nearly circular orbit that it is today.
You are correct, I thought I read somewhere that brown dwarfs lose mass, and remain around the size of Jupiter. Anyhow, the same thing could happen if lets say a large planetar with orbiting debris (don't think the orbiting debris around a planetar has a scientific name yet) was not in a collision course, but a path in which would make a circular orbit around the Sun.

MeteorWayne":3cz9g0yf said:
2. The material in the asteroid belt, while having iron content, it far too far away from the sun to have it's obit affected by emagnetic effects. Physics 101.
How long has the asteroid belt been where its currently located? We cannot rule out that the Sun's magnetic force, along with the magnetic force of Jupiter has positioned the asteroid belt to where it is at today.

MeteorWayne":3cz9g0yf said:
3. The Big Bang occurred 8 billion years before th sun formed, and made only Hydrogen, Helium, and a tiny bit of Lithium.
The Big Bang had to first produce sound and light before anything. And if the theory is correct, has made everything to be positioned exactly where its at right now, and forever. Somewhere in the expansion/contraction of the Universe messed up the, I'm going to say 'standard formation of objects', which all objects should be spherical (+/- x%) due to gravity alone.

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#### matthewota

##### Guest
It is easy t omake all of the planets align when you look at a two-dimensional drawing. However, most people do not realize that the planets do not orbit exactly on the same plane as the Earth. Therefore they will never perfectly align ever.
You have to think in three dimensions, not two.

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
Even if you look at it two dimensionally, it's not easy for all the planets to align. They all have different periods, lasting hundreds of years for the outer planets. To get all 8 in a line is very rare! It's easy to get two or 3.

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#### micheal48usa

##### Guest
The alignment will occur 21 December, 2012

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
No alignment will occur on that date. If you wish to discuss that foolishness, there's a thread at the top of The Unexplained forum where all such comments belong. Ask the Astronomer is for real science.

Welcome to Space.com!

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#### Shpaget

##### Guest
If the NASAs Solar System Simulator is to be believed, and I prefer it to any tin foil hatters unsupported claim, on December 21 2012 our solar system will look like this:

Clearly no alignment whatsoever is going to happen at that time.

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#### orienteer

##### Guest
If I am reading those pictures right, in the morning will be a Uranus Neptune Mars alignment, and in the evening will be a Mercury Venus Saturn Pluto alignment. Seven out of eight sounds pretty cool to me.

First we learned about the Goldilocks zone, and now I find out Snow White only has 5 dwarfs. What is the world coming to?

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#### spazekaat

##### Guest
Heh....way back when I wrote a BASIC (!) program to calculate an alignment.....but I allowed for a small amount of divergence (5 degrees, I think).

Damn thing ran for a couple of months on my home-built 6800 machine (now I'm dating myself, I'm a Kat from "way back when" :lol: Yeah, built my own dumb terminal also) 24/7 and didn't produce any results.

Problem is, I didn't take eccentricity into account......floating point calculations were slow enough in those days....

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#### Shpaget

##### Guest
What formulae did you use?

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#### haas_style

##### Guest
What could happen if they DO...?
If ya don't mind me asking...

rrh
truth honor freedom

M

Nothing.

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#### Shpaget

##### Guest
MeteorWayne":3ulyfpug said:
Ok, now you're oversimplifying things. Everybody knows that when (not if) planets align in two and a half years that a rouge planet will appear out of nowhere and perform a head on collision with Earth extinguishing all life. There will also be a giant solar flare directed precisely in our direction and fry all our electronics so we won't even know what's going to happen.
It's all written in the calendars, man. It's been around since, like, old Mayans.

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#### vividasday

##### Guest
Alignment. A Beauty.

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#### CalliArcale

##### Guest
haas_style":2amro8qc said:
What could happen if they DO...?
If ya don't mind me asking...
Basically, it would look pretty. In the night sky, you'd see the superior planets (those farther away from the Sun -- Mars on out) very close to one another in the night sky, and they'd be up all night long (as they'd rise around sunset and set around sunrise). It would be quite lovely. The inferior planets (Mercury and Venus) would be less lovely, as they'd be completely hidden in the glare of the Sun (though I suppose if you got a truly *perfect* alignment in all directions, you'd get the once-in-an-eon event of both Venus and Mercury transiting the sun -- rare events in themselves, and unheard of simultaneously).

Other than that, nothing much would happen. The planets are very far apart, and have no measurable gravitational affect on one another. (Gravitational attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the two objects, which basically means it drops off exponentially as you move out. After a certain distance, it's basically nothing.) Even the Sun doesn't have that much tidal influence on the Earth; the Moon has a great deal more influence.

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#### vividasday

##### Guest
The light sky may be new to some - though to others - an awesome sight. An alignment by most is and will be a sight yet to be seen.

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#### clandistine1

##### Guest
The answer is that it :!:COULD :!: happen but the likelihood of this happening is so rare that the chances that it will happen before end of the universe are next to naught
...
I love the word COULD

D

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
No they didn't Check your facts with real astronomical information.

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