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Celestial Album
Two simulations of planetary system disruption
01/07/13

 

Two simulations of planetary system disruption by galactic disturbances to wide binary stars. On the left is a zoomed-out view showing the orbit of a hypothetical 0.1 solar mass binary star around our own solar system with an initial orbital separation of 10,000 AU (1 AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun). On the right is a zoomed-in view of the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. As the binary orbit becomes eccentric, this eventually excites the planetary orbits and Uranus and Neptune are both ejected. Credit: Nathan Kaib



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