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Some Regularities Showing Similarity of the Solar and Planetary Systems

planets, system, mass, satellites and earth

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SOME REGULARITIES SHOWING SIMILARITY OF THE SOLAR AND PLANETARY SYSTEMS Four basic regularities of the solar system having cosmogonic signifi cance have been established: 1. All the planets revolve about the Sun along approximately circular orbits (ellipses).

2. All the planets revolve about the Sun in the same sense (counter clockwise).

3. The solar system is coplanar; the orbital planes of all the planets lie near the plane of the solar equator.

4. Angular momentum is so distributed in the solar system that, although the Sun contains 99.87% of the total mass and the planets a mere 0.13%, only 2% of the angular momentum is possessed by the Sun and 98% by the planets.

The planets are usually divided into two groups: the giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune), and the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars). Pluto is not included in either of these groups.

The mass of all the planets taken together constitutes only 1/1000 of the mass of the Sun. The mass of Jupiter, for instance, is 1/1100, the mass of the Earth is 1/320,000, and the mass of Mercury is 1/3,000,000 of the solar mass.

As a result of an analysis of these fundamental regularities, Shmidt concluded that the distribution of angular momentum in the solar system is of basic importance for solving the problem of the origin and evolution of the solar system. To solve the latter problem, Shmidt suggested the theory of the capture of a nebula by the Sun.

A recent hypothesis of Fesenkov* assumes that a nebula composed of gas and dust broke up into parts, which formed into the planets of the solar system. It is the opinion of the author of the present article that the basic mechanism responsible for the formation of planets and satellites was the interaction of the Sun and planets with the gas-dust nebulae which surrounded them during an early stage in their evolution.

The coplanarity of the solar system is the most fundamental of the above four regularities. The facts that the planets all revolve about the Sun in the same sense, that they follow nearly circular orbits, and that they possess most of the angular momentum in the solar system are all consequences of the coplanarity.

All the foregoing considerations apply to the planet-satellite systems in the solar system as well. Moreover, it is a fact that no one has noted

previously a very important parameter of the systems of the Sun and the planets, and the planets and their satellites. The parameter here referred to is the regularity of the distances: 1) between planets and between groups of planets, and 2) between satellites and between groups of satellites.

We shall consider below the other regularities characteristic of the solar system. First, however, let us begin with a study of the satellite systems of the largest planets, Saturn and Jupiter, rather than with a study of the larger system of the Sun and the planets. Almost all the mass of the planets is concentrated in the two largest planets, the mass of Jupiter being equal to 317.37 Earth masses and the mass of Saturn being equal to 95.08 Earth masses (giving a total of 412.45 Earth masses).

Uranus (14.6 Earth masses) and Neptune (17.2 Earth masses) are much smaller, with a combined mass of 31.8 Earth masses. The total mass of the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), moreover, only amounts to 1.984 Earth masses.

The satellites of Jupiter can be grouped as follows, according to their distances from the planet and their equatorial diameters: As shown in the table, the satellites of Jupiter can be divided into four groups, on the basis of their distances from the planet.

The first group (Amalthea, Io, and Europa) lie at distances of 100,000 to 700,000 km from the planet. The second group (Ganymede and Callisto) are between one and two million km away, and it is interesting to note that these two are the largest Jovian satellites. Later, when we consider the satellite systems of other planets, we shall see that this constitutes a definite regularity which is significant with respect to the cosmogony of the solar system. The third group (satellites VI, VII, and X) are situated within a small spatial interval between 11,300,000 and 11,750,000 km from Jupiter. Finally, the fourth group (satellites XII, XI, VIII, and IX) lie at distances from 21,000,000 to 23,700,000 km from the planet. All four of the satellites in this group have retrograde motions.

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