Doughnut theory of dating
But these interactions can sometime slingshot smaller objects into weird, off-plane orbits.Knowing that planets tend to be found in the same plane make astronomer’s jobs that much easier.It’s hard to see how the planets are moving from a vantage on the surface of one of those moving planets (Earth), so it’s nice to have a simple boxed example like Jupiter.The planets always lie within the same plane, “the ecliptic”.Sometimes this leads to awesome stuff like planets impacting each other and big explosions.One of the leading theories behind the formation of our Moon is one such impact.Since the Earth is also in this plane, the ecliptic appears as a band in the sky where the Sun and all of the planets can be found. That all said, those lumps add an element of chaos to the story.Planets and moons don’t simply orbit the Sun, they also interact with each other.
Our solar system formed as a disk with all of the planets forming within that disk in the “plane of the ecliptic”.This isn’t a big claim; pour coffee into a cup, and at least some little bits will be turning.That same turbulence shows up naturally at all larger-than-coffee-cup scales in the universe (although typically not much smaller).The dwarf planet Xena and its moon Gabriel orbit off of the ecliptic, which is a big part of why they weren’t found until 2005 (the sky is a big place after all).Xena and Gabriel’s official names are “Eris” and “Dysnomia” respectively, but I support the original discoverer’s labels, because they’re amazing.
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This loss of energy causes the cloud to physically contract, since losing energy means the bits of dust and gas are moving slower (and that means falling into lower and lower orbits).