Pluto’s orbit, which is considered very eccentric and sloping, is relatively stable on longer timescales, but undergoes perturbations and chaotic changes over shorter timescales, according to new research. The research results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Pluto’s orbit is radically different from that of the other planets in nearly circular orbits. It takes Pluto 248 years to revolve around the sun in an elliptical orbit of 17 degrees to the ecliptic plane of the solar system. Previous studies show that Pluto is protected from collision with Neptune by the so-called mean motion echo. Thanks to him, at a time when Pluto was at the same heliocentric distance as Neptune, its longitude was approximately 90 degrees from Neptune. Subsequent studies have shown that Pluto reaches perihelion well above the level of Neptune’s orbit. This is a type of orbital resonance known as a “vZLK oscillation”. Small differences in initial conditions result in an exponential divergence of orbital solutions over tens of millions of years. Recent research findings could have a significant impact on future studies of the outer solar system and its orbital dynamics.
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