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The planet between Jupiter and Mars will kick Earth out of the solar system – t3n – Digital Pioneers

The planet between Jupiter and Mars will kick Earth out of the solar system – t3n – Digital Pioneers

planets of the solar system

Comparison of planets in size: a huge gap between Earth and Neptune. (Photo: Alexaldo/Shutterstock)

A study conducted by an American astrophysicist showed that there are two gaps between the planets that are important for the stability of our solar system and the location of the Earth. The findings could be important in the search for Earth-like exoplanets.

There are two holes in our solar system that astronomers have been interested in for a long time. There is an amazing amount of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. In addition, there is a large distance between the size of Earth and Neptune – that is, the largest rocky planet and the smallest gaseous planet.

Other star systems have many super-Earths

In other star systems, there would be many planets with masses in the range between Earth and Neptune in this gap, explains nuclear physicist Stephen Kane of the University of California, Riverside (UCR). These planets will be referred to as super-Earths.

Kane considered the importance of these gaps in the structure of our solar system and the evolution of life on Earth. Kane ran several computer simulations using a fictional planet between Mars and Jupiter, where the planet had different masses.

A planet between Mars and Jupiter is dangerous for Earth

As part of a thought experiment, Kane found that an Earth-like planet between Mars and Jupiter could cause Earth to be expelled from the solar system. This will also destroy all life on our planet.

The results of the simulations were mostly disastrous for the solar system, as evidenced by A Communications from the UCR he is called. “This imaginary planet gives Jupiter a big enough boost to destabilize everything else,” Kane said.

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Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Neptune are also in danger

In addition to Earth, Mercury and Venus can also fly by from the solar system. Depending on the mass of the super-Earth and its exact location, the orbits of Uranus and Neptune can also be disturbed. Then they, too, disappear into the depths of space.

That’s because Jupiter has twice the mass of all the other planets combined. The gas giant is eleven times larger than Earth. The effect of its gravity on the stability of the solar system is correspondingly large.

A gas giant crucial to the stability of the orbits

According to Kane, the presence of a Jupiter-like gas giant at a great distance from its star could be crucial in determining whether neighboring Earth-like planets have stable orbits.

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Kane has published the results of his simulations in The Planetary Science Journal. published. According to the astrophysicist, the study has given the astrophysicist a new respect for the system that holds our solar system together. According to Kane, this is more finely tuned than previously thought.