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The Design of the Solar System

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We’ve come a long way since Laplace’s nebular hypothesis…

Solar System Is Pretty Special, According To New Computer Simulation

ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2008) — Prevailing theoretical models attempting to explain the formation of the solar system have assumed it to be average in every way. Now a new study by Northwestern University astronomers, using recent data from the 300 exoplanets discovered orbiting other stars, turns that view on its head.


Graceout, I can't really take credit: link. ;-) Apollos
magnan: "The study didn’t attempt to simulate the formation of a large moon in the right orbit to stabilize the seasons." While at the same time, the moon virtually exhibits the same apparent size as the sun from our (earthling's) point of view. An amazing "coincidence." mike1962
Apollos @ 4: LOL! One of my favorite subjects is the apparnet design and 'whimsical construction' that seems to go into the amazing myriad of moons, rings, shepard moons, and orbits of the Solar System. Let's make a planet that rotates on it's side, and whose moons orbit in circles rather than elipses and radiates no heat. And then let's make one further out (Neptune) that radiated TWICE as much heat as it recieves and a retrograde moon. It just seems that every planet and each moon is designed to be as UNLIKE its neighbor as possible. For each naturalistic model of planet and ring formation, there is a new discovery that dismantles that model. Graceout
Interesting how this just reinforces the "Priviledged Planet" theory. Factor in how the solar system might be in sync with the golden ratio and you have a convincing argument for intelligent design. PannenbergOmega
I am suprised that there has not been more discussion here on this topic. THIS IS BIG NEWS! PannenbergOmega
Magnan, I'm afraid your post (1) overstates the case. This paper does not change the fact that the prevalence of "hot Jupiters" is down to the principal method currently used for finding exoplanets - namely, the radial Doppler method. And that is just a simple consequence of the physics involved - basically, the heavier the planet and the closer to its sun it is, the more the planet affects the motion of its sun (i.e. the faster it swings it) and hence the greater the Doppler reading. In fact, as instrument sensitivity has increased more and more planets of lower mass (i.e. Uranus sized) are being found further from their sun (out even beyond the orbits of our main gas giants from our sun). Basically, that means that "hot Jupiters" are not as prevalent as they appeared in the early days when exoplanets were first found and they all appeared to be hot Jupiters. Nor does this paper mean that our own system is "unique" as you claim - merely that most are not like ours, which is different from being unique. So far 250 or so systems have been found and some are not dissimilar to ours (HD37124, for instance). But even if only 1 in 1000 systems were "like ours", that would still mean there were many millions of systems like ours in this galaxy alone. Portishead
magnan Evidently the prevalence of “hot Jupiters” with orbital periods of a few days is not an artifact "Evidently" is not the right word for results obtained from computer models. Try "possibly" or "maybe". "Evidently" will be appropriate when the resolution of our instruments is sufficient to detect small rocky planets with orbits in the 1AU ballpark and subsequently find few of them. DaveScot
I suppose the question now is, was the original Solar system disc set up with these perfect properties to form a stable system, or was there no disc at all and all the planets were specially manufactured in their present forms? Venus Mousetrap
Just imagine a universe with a life-sensitive spot... Apollos
It's not that hard to understand, solar system equilibrium is simply an emergent property. Otherwise, with all the possible solar systems there could be in the multiverses, of course--since ours is possible--it exists. jjcassidy
Alert Iowa State University and have these people fired! ellijacket
Evidently the prevalence of "hot Jupiters" with orbital periods of a few days is not an artifact of the Doppler shift, parallax and optical dimming methods of planet detection, where lower limits in the instrumentation determine lower limits in planetary size and mass and upper limits to orbital period. Excellent confirmation of the uniqueness of the solar system, and in part of the theme of Gonzales' Privileged Planet. This shows some sort of exceedingly small upper limit for this term in the Drake equation for the total number of planets with life (as we know it) and civilization right now in the galaxy, and rules out the sort of Star Trek and SETI fantasy of multitudes of alien races. Of course the Drake equation is predicated on the assumption that intelligent life will arise naturally by Darwinian processes if the conditions are right. This makes the whole calculation suspect from the start. The study didn't attempt to simulate the formation of a large moon in the right orbit to stabilize the seasons. This would be an additional exceedingly small multiplicative term in the equation in determining the probability of Earthlike planets. Ward and Brownlee argued for another miniscule probability factor in the likelihood of an "Earthlike" planet actually progressing beyond bacteria. magnan

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