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New Meetup: IS THE SOLAR SYSTEM STABLE? Heilborn Symposium

From: Ronnie
Sent on: Monday, December 28, 2009 9:14 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Chicago Science Field Trips Club!

What: IS THE SOLAR SYSTEM STABLE? Heilborn Symposium

When: January 7,[masked]:30 PM

Northwestern University
2145 Sheridan Road Technological Institute, Ryan Auditorium
Evanston, IL 60201

Northwestern University Department of Physics and Astronomy's annual Heilborn Symposium features three general interest talks designed for the public.
The second is "Is the Solar System Stable?" presented by Jacques Laskar of the Paris Observatory.

Is the Solar system stable? Since its formulation by Newton, the question of the stability of the Solar system has fascinated astronomers and mathematicians for more than three centuries. It is the question of deciding whether the planetary orbits in the distant future will keep a similar form as now, or whether after a long time, the mutual gravitational perturbations among the planets will lead to a planetary escape or collision before the end of the life of the Sun. Although in the past centuries most of the efforts have been devoted to searches for proofs of stability of the Solar system, the recent numerical results show the contrary. Twenty years ago, using averaged equations that are more than 1000 time faster than the direct approach, I could show that the motion of the Solar system is chaotic. It thus becomes impossible to predict precisely its evolution over a few tens of millions of years. The question of the stability of the Solar system is then raised again, as a statistical study becomes then necessary. Using a new supercomputer, we have conducted this year such a massive numerical simulation of 2501 orbital evolution of the Solar System over 5 Gyr with the full non averaged equations. This revealed that the Solar system is unstable in a strong sense, as collisional trajectories are possible for all planets of the inner Solar System.

Reception: 3:30 pm
Lecture: 4:00 pm


Sponsor: Department of Physics and Astronomy

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