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Author Topic: Why are all the planets on the same plane?  (Read 1433 times)

Neil McCafferty

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Why are all the planets on the same plane?
« on: 26/09/2011 19:30:03 »
Neil McCafferty asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Any concepts that I have seen on TV of the solar system show the sun with the planets strung along at different orbital distances on a broadly linear plane. Is this the true reflection, or would a three dimensional map of the solar system show the planets are not at all linear to the sun?

with thanks and sincerely,

Neil McCafferty









What do you think?
« Last Edit: 26/09/2011 19:30:03 by _system »


 

Offline Supercryptid

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Why are all the planets on the same plane?
« Reply #1 on: 27/09/2011 07:10:02 »
They are not all in the same plane; it's just easier to represent that in a diagram.

Orbital inclination varies from planet to planet as measured relative to the Sun's equator:

Mercury: 3.38 degrees
Venus: 3.86 degrees
Earth: 7.155 degrees
Mars: 5.65 degrees
Jupiter: 6.09 degrees
Saturn: 5.51 degrees
Uranus: 6.48 degrees
Neptune: 6.43 degrees

This is especially true of the dwarf planets:

Ceres: 10.585 degrees
Pluto: 11.88 degrees
Eris: 44.187 degrees
 

Offline MikeS

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Why are all the planets on the same plane?
« Reply #2 on: 27/09/2011 07:54:56 »
As Supercryptid points out they are not all in exactly the same plane but essentially they are in a similar plane with one exception.

The sun formed from a rotating dust and gas cloud.  What was left went on to become the planets.  Hence they are all in more or less the same plane.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Why are all the planets on the same plane?
« Reply #2 on: 27/09/2011 07:54:56 »

 

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