(ORDO NEWS) — Mathematicians Angel Zhivkov and Ivaylo Tunchev from Sofia University in Bulgaria have presented a new study that essentially predicts the future of the solar system.
They calculated the probability that the orbits of the Earth and its neighboring planets will change and determined the time frame for the stability of this system.
The work can be found on the arXiv preprint server, and Science Alert talks briefly about the study. Mathematicians decided to analyze how stable the solar system is.
They took into account in their calculations the orbits and other characteristics of the eight planets and Pluto, deprived of the status of a planet.
The researchers tried to establish how long the orbits of the largest objects in the solar system will not change significantly.
The basis for the analysis was the data known to science about the history of our planetary system, which has existed for about 4.5 billion years.
First, scientists modeled the past by studying how the orbits of the planets might have changed over time. They then attempted to model the future based on the trends they could identify.
Mathematicians did not look very far ahead. They limited themselves to a time period of 100 thousand years, deciding that modeling the future for a shorter period of time increases the reliability of the results.
Such modeling takes into account details that were not taken into account in previous similar studies, for example, deviations in the initial conditions for the calculation.
Interestingly, the authors started from the assumption of Isaac Newton that the interaction between the planets would eventually lead the solar system to chaos.
Zhivkov and Tunchev developed a new method of analysis that converted the orbital element data into 54 first-order ordinary differential equations.
The information was then loaded into a computer, which calculated the future 6,290,000 steps ahead. At the same time, it took about six days for each step.
Calculations showed that “the configuration of the touching ellipses along which the planets move around the Sun will remain stable for at least 100,000 years in the sense that the semi-major axis of each planet changes within or less than one percent.”
Scientists have also calculated alternative scenarios by varying the initial conditions and the masses of the planets. In all cases, the solar system remained stable.
By the way, previous calculations have shown that our planetary system will take about 100 billion years to break up and disperse through the Milky Way.
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