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Fraser
2005-Apr-14, 05:07 PM
SUMMARY: When astronomers discovered that the planets around Upsilon Andromedae had very strange orbits, they weren't sure what could have caused it. Researchers from Berkeley and Northwestern have developed a simulation that shows how an additional planet could have given the other planets the orbital kick they needed to explain their current eccentricities. If a similar planet had passed through our own Solar System early on, all our planets could be in wildly different orbits around the Sun.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/strange_extrasolar_orbits.html)

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Greg
2005-Apr-14, 08:55 PM
Nice article. This abstraction from it did not specify how eccentric and elliptical the orbits are, but I read at least one other article before which indicated life could evolve and sustain itself on Earth even its orbit were highly eccentric. In one more extreme cases Earth would not be habitable in higher latitudes for good chunks of the year due to fairly extreme seasonal temperature shifts, but be completely habitable in the central latitudes all year round.

dave_f
2005-Apr-15, 04:32 AM
Originally posted by Greg@Apr 14 2005, 03:55 PM
...but be completely habitable in the central latitudes all year round.
But, on the other hand Earth would be facing extreme "Ice Age" or "Desertifation" consequences. Personally I like our nice circular orbit we have now. :P