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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


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    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.
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