Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: The ecliptic plane - a standard solar system model?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    9

    The ecliptic plane - a standard solar system model?

    This is another question for the most learned here. The eight official planets are on a plane, or near enough. It is thought that this is due to the protoplanetary materials having gathered into a disc. Should this be considered a standard model for a solar system, or could other solar systems have different patterns?

    Following on from that, in the universe of Judge Dredd, built in the 'seventies, set in the distant future (though tongue in cheek at times) there exists a planet called Hestia, which is in our solar system, but at a weird angle to the ecliptic plane, which meant that in their timeline it was not discovered until 2009. Is that concept a plausible one, or is it completely unscientific?

    We really need a forum that's specifically for science-fiction.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8,070
    Quote Originally Posted by Aetherium View Post
    This is another question for the most learned here. The eight official planets are on a plane, or near enough. It is thought that this is due to the protoplanetary materials having gathered into a disc. Should this be considered a standard model for a solar system, or could other solar systems have different patterns?

    Following on from that, in the universe of Judge Dredd, built in the 'seventies, set in the distant future (though tongue in cheek at times) there exists a planet called Hestia, which is in our solar system, but at a weird angle to the ecliptic plane, which meant that in their timeline it was not discovered until 2009. Is that concept a plausible one, or is it completely unscientific?
    Hestia was an Earth "twin" colony world, orbiting at 90 degrees to Earth's orbit. Tiny Pluto, orbiting off-axis and very far away, was discovered a long time ago. A much bigger, closer-in world, like Hestia, would not have escaped notice. It would have been naked eye visible, maybe.

    We really need a forum that's specifically for science-fiction.
    ETA: Make one!
    Last edited by grapes; 2018-Jun-05 at 06:08 PM. Reason: ETA:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    7,838
    Not beng learned, i don' t know if a wild planet would be stable within the multibody system, there is a simple version as one of the possible three body solutions, but i do suspect that an out of plane large planet could be disruptive and thus cause instability of the other orbits. The harmonic relations are a clue to stability of mutual disruption and we have still some disrupters like Jupiter being eccentric, but a planet at a big angle would probably cause trouble.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    8,482
    Many other solar systems are significantly different to our own. A large number of extrasolar planets have a significant tilt compared to the rotation of their star, and some orbit in a retrograde fashion, like HAT-P-7b. Many solar systems include hot Jupiters, very near the host star, and/or planets larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune, a class of planets missing in our system. Finally, a number of solar systems include at least one extra star at various distances. So although quite a few solar systems look vaguely like our own, many do not.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    47,712
    Quote Originally Posted by Aetherium View Post
    We really need a forum that's specifically for science-fiction.
    Science fiction is generally discussed in our Small Media at Large sub-forum. Questions about the real world possibilities of science fiction ideas (such as your question) are fine to ask in Q&A or in another appropriate sub-forum, like Astronomy or Science and Technology.

    Personally, I think we have too many sub-forums already and don't feel we need even more.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,329
    Quote Originally Posted by Aetherium View Post
    This is another question for the most learned here. The eight official planets are on a plane, or near enough. It is thought that this is due to the protoplanetary materials having gathered into a disc. Should this be considered a standard model for a solar system, or could other solar systems have different patterns?
    The fact that the planets orbit in a plane (approx.) is the reason it was hypothesized (I. Kant, 1755) that stars form from nebulae and create disks, which is where planets form. Once radio and IR astronomy came along, the evidence favoring this model became overwhelming since disks are found to be ubiquitous for such pre-stellar regions.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    9
    So is there anything or any factor that obstructs the view from Earth of a planet that is at a different angle to the ecliptic plane? What angle would an object have to be at before it was not visible in the night sky and would require probes or calculations based on gravity to pinpoint?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Falls Church, VA (near Washington, DC)
    Posts
    8,195
    Quote Originally Posted by Aetherium View Post
    So is there anything or any factor that obstructs the view from Earth of a planet that is at a different angle to the ecliptic plane? What angle would an object have to be at before it was not visible in the night sky and would require probes or calculations based on gravity to pinpoint?
    It would have to stay behind the Sun. That means being in Earth's orbit, but 180 degrees around from Earth. That is the Lagrangian L3 point. It is unstable, so such an object would need station-keeping thrusters to stay there. Unless there is an advanced civilization operating and maintaining it, I would feel safe in saying "there ain't no such animal."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,329
    Quote Originally Posted by Aetherium View Post
    So is there anything or any factor that obstructs the view from Earth of a planet that is at a different angle to the ecliptic plane? What angle would an object have to be at before it was not visible in the night sky and would require probes or calculations based on gravity to pinpoint?
    The very distant Planet 9, if it exists, may be hard to find if its inclination puts it in the galactic plane, as may be the case. The background light can overwhelm the imaging, like a lightning bug in stadium lighting.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •