The end of the Solar System

Earth will lose its oceans. Chaos may destabilize the rocky planets. The Sun will go red giant and swallow the inner planets. The outer planets’ orbits will widen as the Sun becomes a white dwarf. Passing stars will destabilize the planets’ orbits and, in about 100 billion years, finally strip away the last planet. … More The end of the Solar System

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Billion-year evolution of the Solar System: climate forcing and orbital chaos

TL;DR: The planets’ orbital shapes, tilts and spins oscillate due to the gravity of the other planets — this has a strong effect on Earth’s climate. On billion-year timescales the terrestrial planets’ orbits are chaotic and cannot be predicted precisely. … More Billion-year evolution of the Solar System: climate forcing and orbital chaos

From planetesimals to planetary “embryos”

This is chapter 3 in the Solar System’s story. We’re chugging along, growing bigger and bigger things… Planetesimal accretion After mountain-sized (~100 km-scale) planetesimals form from concentrations of drifting pebbles, they continue to grow in two ways. The simplest growth route for planetesimals is simply to crash into other planetesimals; this is called planetesimal accretion. … More From planetesimals to planetary “embryos”