Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do planets wave in their orbits?

  1. Mar 6, 2013 #1
    Do planets "wave" in their orbits?


    I was wondering if a planet moves up and down as they orbit the Sun due to the differing inclinations of the other planets? In other words do the planets move in a wave like motion in their orbits or is it smooth?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    If you consider their height above some (arbitrary!) plane, it roughly follows a sine curve, with one oscillation per orbit.
  4. Mar 6, 2013 #3
    Even the Sun doesn't move in a straight line. Everything revolves around the center of mass, which is slightly outside of the Sun. The main influence other than the Sun is Jupiter, then Saturn.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook