The solar system is unlikely to lose its stability within the next 100,000 years, according to a new study. While outer space can be full of mysterious and sometimes violent interstellar phenomena that could have an impact on Earth and its own solar system, the orbits of objects in our solar system are unlikely to be affected within 100 thousand years, according to a report from the U.S. mathematician said. Sofia University. Instead of focusing on longer time lines spanning billions of years, the researchers covered smaller scales, increasing the reliability of their findings.
In their study, researchers at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria concluded that the orbits of celestial bodies in the solar system will not change much in the next 100 thousand years. To arrive at this conclusion, mathematicians Angel Zhivkov and Ivaylo Touchev developed a method to convert the orbital elements of the eight major planets (as well as Pluto) into 54 first-order ordinary differential equations.
The computer code is then fed into a desktop computer, which processes it and performs calculations in 62,90,000 steps. Each step here takes about six days. “The configuration of the closely elliptical planets orbiting the sun will remain stable for at least 1,00,000 years, as each planet’s semi-major axis varies within 1% or less,” the researchers noted.
This means that the planets will continue to orbit the sun without much change for a long time.
The researchers provided analytical evidence assisted by computer calculations to support their findings. Earlier studies using advanced computing to predict the future of our solar system have also been conducted, but typically cover longer timescales spanning billions of years, where finer details are often missed. In contrast, Zhivkov and Touchev covered a relatively small timescale, increasing the reliability of their findings.
Mathematicians also took into account the accumulation of rounding errors, the accuracy of computer calculations, and biases associated with possible uncertainties in astronomical data.