SOLAR SYSTEM DYNAMICS: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Comparative studies of planetary origins entered an exciting era of research when exo-planets were discovered orbiting other stars. Not only did astronomers have our Solar System to study, explore and ponder, they had unique opportunities to attempt to study exo-solar system dynamics. The puzzle of our Solar System’s origins is one of many actively studied problems at the forefront of astronomy research. The discovery of exo-planets orbiting other stars provided the opportunity to understand the dynamics of exo-solar system evolution—as well as our own Solar System.
SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS OF EXO-PLANET DISCOVERY
1995: First exo-planet discovered orbiting star 51 Peg (Mayor & Queloz (1995))
1995: Confirmation of 51 Peg (Marcy & Butler–(1995))
2005: Approximately 150 exo-planets discovered via Doppler “wobble” technique in a 10 year period (Marcy et al (2005))
2010: Citizen Science application, Planet Hunters commenced (http://www.planethunters.org)
2013: Approximately 1 in 6 Stars has an Earth-sized planet (see related illustration and associated link)
DYNAMICS of a SOLAR SYSTEM ?
Early on, discoveries of exo-planets uncovered large Jupiter-sized planets orbiting close to exo-solar suns. However, when examining our solar system, there seems to be a certain orderliness that underlies an anthropocentric logic. The Earth is close to the Sun, along with three other terrestrial planets. While the Jovian planets, also, are grouped together, it seems rather symmetrical—in a certain selfish logic, or dare I say justified by virtue of self justification. Recent publications discuss “planetary migration” as a phenomenon for the ordering of terrestrial, rocky planets near the Sun and explore exo-solar system planet ordering, as well. Astronomers agree there is no anthropocentric, natural law which guided our 3rd place from the Sun existence. However, the discovery of large exo-solar planets near their respective stars fueled a debate of why are we lucky enough to be in the habitable zone of our Solar System? (Perhaps, an answer will come in due time.)
MIGRATION OF JOVIAN PLANETS AND LATE HEAVY BOMBARDMENT !
In a research paper written by Kevin J. Walsh and Allessandro Morbidelli, )(2011) (Nice, France) their computations indicate a substantial need to know how the early Solar System bodies interacted. So much so—that prior models cannot reproduce currently known data of the early Solar System evolution. In a later publication by Morbidelli and Konstantin Batygin (2013), the authors indicate that studies of other “solar systems” have undergone significant evolutionary processes [my interpretations based on literature inference in bold] to the point where it is not unheard of to find so-called Kuiper belt objects and comets in these so-called extra-solar systems. (It really is time to follow the water?)
WHAT DOES IT “ALL” MEAN ? A HYPOTHETICAL STANCE ?
(Literature references at end)
The recent publication of earth-like planets in nearby “habitable zones” would seem to portend that exo-solar systems (similar to our Solar System) undergo similar evolutionary processes whereby habitable and non-habitable planets would exist. So our “exo-solar system,” neighbors may exist next door—but we still do not know how or what to do to find them—a definite need for better ways to (brainstorming ?) learn to search intelligent life beyond home ?
Mayor & Queloz, 1995 Nature, 378, 355.
(Available from Nature website per pay)
Marcy & Butler, 1995 American Astronomical Society Meeting—Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol 27, p1379.
(Abstract available from http://adsabs.harvard.edu)
Marcy etal, 2005 Progress of Theoretical Physics Supplement, No 158. (Available at Physics e-print server)
arXiv: 0505003v2 [astro-ph] 13 Jun 2005
Walsh & Morbidelli, 2011 (Available from Physics e-print server)
arXiv:1101.3776v1 [astro-ph.EP] 19 Jan 2011
Batygin & Morbidelli, 2013 Astronomical Journal, Vol 145 No 1
(Available from website: IOP science per pay)
Booth etal, How Common are Extrasolar, Late Heavy Bombardments?
(Available from Physics e-print server)
arXiv:0911.3271v1 [astro-ph.EP] 17 Nov 2009
Gaspar etal, The Low Level of Debris Disk Activity at the Time of the Late Heavy Bombardment: A Spitzer Study of Praesepe,
(Available from Physics e-print server)
arXiv:0903.4193v1 [astro-ph.SR] 24 Mar 2009
Lisse etal, Spitzer Evidence for a Late Heavy Bombardment and the Formation of Urelites in η Corvi at 1 Gyr
(available at Physics e-print server)
arXiv:1110.4172 [astro-ph.SR] 2012