A New Planet Is Now Our Closest Neighbour

The order of the planets is something most of us learn in school: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and (until 2006) Pluto.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that as Earthlings, our closest planetary neighbor is Venus. And in a way, you would be right – at its nearest, Venus approaches Earth closer than any other planet in the Solar System. Likewise, its orbit is closer to our orbit than any other. However, in another sense, you would be wrong. At least, that is the argument put forward in an article published in Physics Today.

To identify our closest neighbor, engineers affiliated with NASA, Los Alamos National Observatory, and the US Army’s Engineer Research Development Center built a computer simulation to calculate the average proximity of Earth to its three nearest planets (Mars, Venus, and Mercury) over a 10,000-year-period. Because of the way the planets align during their respective orbits, the model shows that Earth spends more time nearer to Mercury than either Venus or Mars.

“In other words, Mercury is closer to Earth, on average, than Venus is because it orbits the Sun more closely,” the authors explain.

Indeed, it’s not just Earth. Further calculations suggest that all seven planets in the Solar System (minus Mercury) spend most of their orbit closer to “the Winged Messenger” than any other planet. Sounds impossible? This is how they worked it out.

Recommended For You

Xmails Premium-Scale Plan

Get this World's Smartest Email Autoresponder and Send Beautiful and Personalised Messages with High Inboxing, High Open and Click Rates for More Profits In Small Cost.

VidViral Pro

Download and work with HD Videos (720p) Add subtitle on footer instead of static text. Add Border to Videos in any color/gradient Add logo and watermark on the video. Change BG Image Video to gif app

AgencyBlitz DFY Video

AgencyBlitz Bundle allows anyone to start and scale profitable agencies to sell services to local businesses.

LiteApp Studio 2.0 [Monthly License]

NEW AIl-In-One Mobile App Builder Helps You Create ALL TYPES Of Amazing Native Mobile Apps (iOS + Android + Amazon + Blackberry) AND Viral Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) from ANY Website URL in minutes, With Zero Technical Skills!

The results are based on a technique called the point-circle method (PCM) – in essence, a mathematical equation that takes the orbits of two planets as circular, concentric, and coplanar, and calculates the average distance between two planets as they orbit the sun.

“From the PCM, we noticed that the distance between two orbiting bodies is at a minimum when the inner orbit is at a minimum,” the authors explain.

“That observation results in what we call the whirly-dirly corollary (named after an episode of the cartoon Rick and Morty): For two bodies with roughly coplanar, concentric, circular orbits, the average distance between the two bodies decreases as the radius of the inner orbit decreases.”

“It’s clear from this corollary, and from the table, that Mercury (average orbital radius of 0.39 AU), not Venus (average radius of 0.72 AU), is the closest planet to Earth on average.” (AU is astronomical units, the distance between Earth and the Sun.)

Tomment Section/Youtube

To test their hypothesis, they built a computer simulation that tracked the positions of all four planets over a 10,000-year-period and calculated the average distance between them. The results of this simulation differed from traditional calculations (determined by subtracting the average radius of the inner orbit from the average radius of the outer orbit) by a staggering 300 percent. Yet differed from the PCM calculations by a relatively insignificant 1 percent.

It found that the average distance between Earth and Venus was 1.136 astronomical units (0.28 on the “old method”). In comparison, the average distance between Earth and Mercury was 1.039 astronomical units (0.61 on the “old method”).

The hypothesis has yet to be submitted to a peer-reviewed paper and will no doubt be put through a thorough cross-examination by experts in the field, but the authors have already noted some possible uses for their newly-devised PCM equation.

“With the right assumptions, PCM could possibly be used to get a quick estimate of the average distance between any set of orbiting bodies,” the authors write.

“Perhaps it can be useful for quickly estimating satellite communication relays, for which signal strength falls off with the square of distance. In any case, at least we know now that Venus is not our closest neighbor – and that Mercury is everybody’s.”

[H/T: Physics Today]

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

And ... Don't forget to have fun!

Recommended

Funnel360 Reseller License

How Would You Like to Earn Over $29,400 to $88,800 Each Year, Selling Funnel360 Licenses To Anyone You Want, While Keeping 100% Of The Profits?

Instagram Accelerator

Autopilot your IG account.

Three For One Hosting Unlimited Plan PowerSSD Upgrade + 4th 5th 6th Year

Three For One Hosting Unlimited Plan PowerSSD Upgrade + 4th 5th 6th Year - PowerSSD Hosting Unlimited Plan add-on plus Bonus three additional years of Unlimited hosting package at 50% off normal price

Leave a Reply