Latest Orbital resonance Stories

2011-06-06 19:44:24

Planetary scientists have long wondered why Mars is only about half the size and one-tenth the mass of Earth. As next-door neighbors in the inner solar system, probably formed about the same time, why isn't Mars more like Earth and Venus in size and mass? A paper published in the journal Nature this week provides the first cohesive explanation and, by doing so, reveals an unexpected twist in the early lives of Jupiter and Saturn as well. Dr. Kevin Walsh, a research scientist at Southwest...

2010-08-12 20:12:02

There are places in space where the gravitational tug between a planet and the Sun balance out, allowing other smaller bodies to remain stable. These places are called Lagrangian points. So-called Trojan asteroids have been found in some of these stable spots near Jupiter and Neptune. Trojans share their planet's orbit and help astronomers understand how the planets formed and how the solar system evolved. Now Scott Sheppard at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism...

2010-06-10 06:00:00

For decades, researchers have been puzzled over the origins of Saturn's baby moons, which, according to many models, are so small that they should have been blown to pieces long ago by impacts with asteroids and comets. But a group of researchers from France and Britain now think they have the answer. Saturn's icy rings might have given birth to the planet's odd-shaped, small moons, scientists now believe. Scientists theorize that these unusual moons, some of which resemble flying saucers,...

2010-03-10 09:33:33

The Purple Mountain Observatory and the Department of Astronomy, Nanjing University, in Nanjing China-Research, cooperating with the Albert Einstein institute, in Hannover, Germany, put forward a model of the planar co-orbital circular restricted three-body problem, gave the equations of motion, a set of approximation formulas, and an approximate semi-analytical solution. The study is reported in Issue 53, No. 1 of SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy because of its significant...

2009-07-23 10:41:13

The study shows that the comets were probably captured 600 million years after the formation of the solar system, during the Late Heavy Bombardment. This extremely violent event was triggered when Saturn and Jupiter entered into orbital resonance:  Saturn's orbital period became exactly twice that of Jupiter, and the two planets passed each other more often, interacting and destabilizing everything around them. During this time, the entire architecture of the solar system was thrown into...

2009-02-25 14:50:00

The patterns of missing asteroids are like the footprints of wandering giant planets preserved in the asteroid belt. University of Arizona scientists have uncovered a curious case of missing asteroids. The main asteroid belt is a zone containing millions of rocky objects between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The scientists find that there ought to be more asteroids there than researchers observe. The missing asteroids may be evidence of an event that took place about 4 billion years ago,...

Word of the Day
  • A large punch-bowl of the eighteenth century, usually of silver and with a movable rim, and decorated with flutings and a scalloped edge. It was also used for cooling and carrying wine-glasses.
  • A kind of cotton handkerchief having white spots on a colored ground, the spots being produced by a chemical which discharges the color.
This word is possibly named after Monteith (Monteigh), 'an eccentric 17th-century Scotsman who wore a cloak scalloped at the hem.'