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Planet swapping

  1. Dec 19, 2004 #1
    "Computer simulations show a close encounter with a passing star about 4 billion years ago may have given our solar system its abrupt edge and put small, alien worlds into distant orbits around our sun."

    http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1330

    That's interesting. I've heard of people that exchage marbles, but exchanging planets seems more serious stuff :biggrin:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2004 #2

    tony873004

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    Actually, you don't need a supercomputer to do these kinds of simulations. I used a program I wrote called Gravity Simulator (www.gravitysimulator.com) to reproduce an experiment done by astronomers using a supercomputer to explore the orgin of Sedna's orbit. I got the exact same results they did.

    Astronomers Alessandro Morbidelli and Harold F. Levison investigated Sedna's origins by performing numerical integrations using the Swift_rmvs3 orbit integrator to explore the idea that Sedna may have once been gravitationally bound to another star or brown dwarf, and stripped away by the Sun, where it entered a highly eccentric solar orbit.

    Using Gravity Simulator, I reproduced their experiment. Morbidelli and Levison set up the following starting conditions: The visiting brown dwarf has a mass of 0.05 solar masses. It is has a velocity of 1 km/s relative to the Sun at infinity. Its approach distance to the Sun is 200 AU. The brown dwarf has a disk of test particles orbiting it in the plane of the encounter at random distances between 20-100 AU.


    In Morbidelli and Levison's experiment, 44% of the Brown Dwarf's objects were captured into Solar orbit. In Gravity Simulator, consistant with Morbidelli and Levison's experiment, 8 of 20 objects were captured into Solar orbit.

    As the simulation begins, the Brown Dwarf system is closing in on the Solar System
    from a distance of just under 1 trillion kilometers.
    http://orbitsimulator.com/gsimyabb/1.GIF

    The Brown Dwarf system closes its distance to the Sun.
    The green planet around the Sun is Neptune.
    http://orbitsimulator.com/gsimyabb/2.GIF

    As the Brown Dwarf system gets even closer,
    the Sun's gravity starts distorting the system.
    http://orbitsimulator.com/gsimyabb/3.GIF

    The Sun sends a strong gravitational tidal force through the Brown Dwarf system.
    Objects outside the Brown Dwarf's Hill sphere are stripped away.
    Some enter a Solar orbit.
    http://orbitsimulator.com/gsimyabb/4.GIF

    After all the dust has settled, 8 objects which originally orbited the Brown Dwarf
    are now orbiting the Sun, some in Sedna-like orbits.
    http://orbitsimulator.com/gsimyabb/5.GIF
     
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