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Thread: If Neptune suddenly ceased to exist, would Pluto maintain its orbit?

  1. #1
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    If Neptune suddenly ceased to exist, would Pluto maintain its orbit?

    I'm a bit confused as to what it means to be in resonance; is it coincidence, or a product of the planet's gravity?
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

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  2. #2
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    It's an interaction between the gravitational fields of the two objects which holds them in resonance - each time one is perturbed away from the resonance, gravity pulls it back into resonance.
    So if Neptune disappeared, Pluto would continue in its present orbit for a while, but perturbations from other bodies would be able to nudge it slowly into a new orbit with a different period, eccentricity and semi-major axis.

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #3
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    But if Neptune did cease to exist then Pluto would regain it's planet status yeah?

    Starts petition to evict Neptune........

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronin View Post
    But if Neptune did cease to exist then Pluto would regain it's planet status yeah?
    Alas, no.

    It is not Neptune that disqualifies Pluto; it is the Plutinos - the inner part of the Kuiper Belt.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Alas, no.

    It is not Neptune that disqualifies Pluto; it is the Plutinos - the inner part of the Kuiper Belt.
    Wait aren't those defined by their 2:3 mean-motion resonance WITH Neptune, so NO Neptune then no Plutinos? Now sign the petition please

  6. #6
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    The International Astronomical Union would have to cease to exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronin View Post
    Wait aren't those defined by their 2:3 mean-motion resonance WITH Neptune, so NO Neptune then no Plutinos? Now sign the petition please
    No, it would simply mean their orbits would shift a little, just as Pluto's would.

  8. #8
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    I used to have a link to a website about planetary migration which was really good at explaining the issue with videos. I can't find it now, of course. I think if Pluto's orbit shifted, so would everything else around it and they would basically end up in the same ballpark area. So the condition about Pluto sharing it's orbit would still exist and the orbit(s) might even become more obviously cluttered.

    I wouldn't mind if Ceres, Pallas and Pluto went back to being planets. I don't blame the IAU, I blame Berliner Astronomisches Jahrbuch (an almanac that designated the asteroids as minor planets instead of planets).
    Solfe

  9. #9
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    You could try to send a PM to forum member tony873004 and ask him to set it up on his orbit simulator, or perhaps try it yourself?
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