Subscribe to DSC Newsletter

Just for the curious. This is not a data science problem.

I was reading an article in National Geographic, entitled Jupiter Does Not Orbit the Sun, when I realized that there is no meaningful definition for the center of the solar system.

Because of the huge mass of Jupiter, planets are not perfectly orbiting around the sun (almost, but not exactly.) There are various distortions to the orbits and even the sun is not static and influenced by Jupiter, in its path.

Sun view from Earth (Oregon) on Aug 21, 2017 (total eclipse)

The gravity center of the solar system is not very useful either: it changes all the time due to the configuration of the planets, though the changes are minor. If you average the center of the solar system, over a period of (say) a billion years, then during that time period we have made several full trips around the Milky Way, so the center of the solar system has traveled huge distances.  

It would be interesting to plot the location of the gravity center of the solar system against the location of the sun over long time periods, but then again we are faced with a new challenge: which reference coordinate system should we use? All pieces are moving, nothing is static, there is no absolute reference point. The situation is even more complex in binary star systems surrounded by several massive planets (assuming such a configuration exists and is stable.)

Brachistochrone: curve of fastest gravitational descent 

Just food for thoughts, it does not prevent us from traveling through space with a great deal of accuracy anyway. .    

Views: 466

Reply to This

Follow Us

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Resources

© 2017   Data Science Central   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service