• March 11, 2019, 6:42 p.m.

    Rogue planet entering our solar system and what might happen??? Do you read these Issac? I'm a huge fan!!

  • March 11, 2019, 7:05 p.m.

    Title says it all. Would love to see an episode about that!!!

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    The Episode idea thread has been merged into this thread.

  • March 12, 2019, 8:15 a.m.

    I have merged several threads into this one. Please refrain from creating multiple threads for a single topic/question.

  • March 14, 2019, 6:23 p.m.

    If Seventies science fiction television is any guide, Earth will be attacked by beautiful Space Amazons. Seriously though, if a rogue planet wandered through the Solar System it's unlikely that it would do so in the same plane that the planets orbit in, and that being the case there wouldn't be enough time at close proximity for much gravitational interaction.

  • March 15, 2019, 6:43 a.m.

    I do, though I'm still getting in the habit of checking here, new to my normal grazing pattern :)

  • March 20, 2019, 8:35 p.m.

    Well a rouge planet will most likely be very far away and pass though with little effect. However i expect you mean something like coming inside the orbit of earth. Next is what mass do you expect it to have? Lets say about earth size (it seems that "planets" tend to be larger for whatever definition of planet we want to use).

    First of all it will not be in the plane of the solar system. It will come high or low and be on a hyperbolic trajectory. It will be booking it. Going fast. So it will give everything a little gravitation nudge, but over a fairly small amount of time. Unless it is very close to earth it probably won't have a huge effect. Things in less stable orbits (trojans etc) will probably all get shifted a bit. A lot of our asteroid catalogues will now be wrong, as it will tend to increase there inclinations. That sort of thing.

    it would probably be a mother of all comets as well. Rouge planets will be cold and have their atmospheres frozen. As it gets close to the sun, it may not be able to hold onto all the atmosphere.

    But mostly meh. So that is boring. Lets have it come close to earth or/and be as big or bigger than Jupiter.

    Well how long is a piece of string. You can make it as bad as you want. Huge tides and tsunamis wiping entire coastal areas. To even crustal stability issues with the mother of all earthquakes everywhere at once. perturbing orbits as to make earth orbit long term unstable... To getting swallowed whole buy a rouge Jupiter.

    Well a rouge Jupiter would be pretty bad either way. Our orbit even if never closer than 0.5 AU (hell even 1AU) away would get totally screwed up. We would cook/freeze then freeze/cook if we weren't straight out ejected.

  • March 21, 2019, 1:25 a.m.

    Most icy bodies don't have enough materials in their atmosphere to 'make' comets. This is a moot point anyway, since comets aren't produced by atmospheres 'melting'. Perhaps if the rogue planet was a small, Ultima Thule-like object it could melt and or outgas over a long period of time, essentially becoming a comet.

    Much more worrisome would be this object disturbing OTHER comets and asteroids in the solar-system. Disturbing these other object's orbits would make tracking potentially dangerous NEOs harder to track.

  • March 21, 2019, 3:54 p.m.

    Or even a planet itself within our solar system. I don't imagine it would take an extremely massive planet to zip through our solar system to perturb the orbital dynamics we have. Mass, distance, and speed would be the biggest factors imo. Something the mass of say mars or mercury may even be enough to alter orbital paths or even eventually cause a body to collide or be thrown out entirely, though unless it was a slower moving body, which seems unlikely, I would think it would require something around the mass of the earth.

  • March 21, 2019, 5:28 p.m.

    It will be most likely in the plane of the solar system. The plane of the solar system lines up pretty well with the plane of the Milky Way. I'd expect that most rouge objects are somewhat in that plane. So the probability for objects in or near the solar plane will be higher than those perpendicular to the plane.

    As what would happen, there are some simulators out there like Universe Sandbox. If anyone has one of these they could run some simulations for us.

  • March 22, 2019, 4:25 a.m.

    We don't line up with the galactic plane. Just look at the milky way and where planets are ie the ecliptic. Its about 60 deg IIRC. And rouges will have to be from stars around us. Just the way the math works with the frequency we would expect, you still get a inverse square law with distance and "rouge planet flux". That is from a area not large compared to the thickness of the milky way this far from the galactic core. This is a super ultra unlikely thing to happen. And even if it did, it would tend to be far from the sun, many AU away. Again just because that is where all the space is.

  • March 22, 2019, 8:58 a.m.

    Exactly. Really any disturbance is bad news in this cluttered solar-system of ours. Luckily, an encounter with a rogue planet with those sorts of ramifications should be pretty rare, since our solar-system's velocity through the galaxy would make picking up a interstellar planet very difficult. You can read about some other problems about this doomsday scenario here: blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/05/19/are-we-in-danger-from-a-rogue-planet/#.XJSjA9isO70

  • Nov. 6, 2019, 7:26 p.m.

    Even if it didn't affect anything, it'd be the research opportunity of the millennium, like free interstellar travel to explore an exoplanet.

    Imagine something the size of Earth swinging through on the same path as Oumuamua, coming from some ancient and unknown place.

    All telescopes everywhere would focus on it obsessively as long as they could. Engineers would miss sleep for weeks trying to find a way to visit that world before it disappeared forever. Maybe it would even have frozen life!

  • Nov. 29, 2019, 10:29 p.m.

    Three possibilities are:

    1. Rogue object zips through our solar system and wrecks everything. (Seveneves)

    2. Rogue object zips through our system and doesn't wreck everything, scientific mystery. (Rama)

    3. Rogue planet enters our system and stays here, and now we have nine planets again. (Let's explore)

    So we're sitting here just as we always do, when a giant iceball almost as big as Earth enters our system, Oumuamua-style. It slows by Jupiter and falls into an orbit about the same distance from the Sun as Earth, but at a 60 degree angle to our own, intersecting it. Smart Alecks call it New Pluto.

    After some excitement, everything seems stable. But when experts run the numbers, they announce that the new planet will collide with our own in 30 years.

    Now the human race has exactly 30 years to move a planet nearly as big as their own, starting with today's technology.

    A plot ensues! Empires built and destroyed! Intrigue! Swordplay and kissing! Gymnastics!

    Meanwhile there is this alien planet, covered in frozen gas but thawing out, that sometimes comes very close to us. We have sent probes. We have collected ice cores. We even sent people there, until the atmosphere became too thick and turbulent to safely land. Life may have existed there, but there is none now.


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