60M year limit to paleo-reconstruction due to minor planet chaos

Posted: July 15, 2011 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, climate, solar system dynamics

I think Ulric might like this one. It turns out, according to a new study, that minor planets in the asteroid belt have a chaotic effect on Earth’s orbit.

This from http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-07-minor-planets-ceres-vesta-earth.html

Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing a new study of the orbital evolution of minor planets Ceres and Vesta, a few days before the flyby of Vesta by the Dawn spacecraft. A team of astronomers found that close encounters among these bodies lead to strong chaotic behavior of their orbits, as well as of the Earth’s eccentricity. This means, in particular, that the Earth’s past orbit cannot be reconstructed beyond 60 million years.


Strong chaos induced by close encounters with Ceres and Vesta, by J. Laskar, M. et al., Published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2011, vol. 532, L4

Full story at the link above

  1. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Chaos only exists in the mind of the beholder. God doesn´t play dice.

  2. Tenuc says:

    adolfogiurfa says:
    July 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm
    “@Chaos only exists in the mind of the beholder. God doesn’t play dice.”

    Deterministic chaos is produced by complex quasi-stable systems, so god does play with dice, but they are loaded… 🙂

  3. tallbloke says:

    OK, well now we have a couple of replies on this thread, we need to start thinking about the implications of what these scientists have discovered. If they reckon a gravity only solution can have these two lumps of space rock affecting the Earth’s eccentricity over 60M years to the extent that we can calculate Earth’s orbit with any certainty then that’s interesting.

    If as we suspect the electromagnetic connections through the solar system transmit much more force than is currently believed, then maybe the bodies have enough effect to change things on much shorter timescales. Very speculative though. We need to get a closer look at their paper to see how their scheme works.

  4. Jason Calley says:

    In fact, God does play with dice, but his dice come in many sizes. The smallest have multiple sides, but the largest has only one.