Reasons to Believe

Rarity of Planets with Non-Eccentric Orbits

TNRTB Archive - Retained for reference information

A team of American astronomers has confirmed an important design feature for the solar system. Their research on the upsilon Andromedae planetary system, the best observed extrasolar planetary system, establishes that the gas giant planets in that system got their high-eccentricity orbits through planet-planet scattering (a kind of gravitational slingshot effect). Specifically, at some time in the past upsilon Andromedae had four gas giant planets, rather than the present three. The fourth came too close to the third, kicking it into a highly eccentric orbit which in turn disturbed the orbit of the second. The fourth planet was ejected from the system. The team believes that such planet-planet scattering explains why all extrasolar planets located more distant from their stars than Venus is from the Sun exhibit orbits too eccentric to permit the existence of a life-support planet in the same system. Consequently, the team leader, Frederic Rasio, concluded, “While planetary systems around other stars may be common, the kinds of systems that could support life … may not be so common.” Thus, the circular orbits of the solar system planets appear to point to supernatural design rather than natural outcome. 

o   Eric B. Ford, Verene Lystad, and Frederic A. Rasio, “Planet-Planet Scattering in the upsilon Andromedae System,” Nature 434 (2005): 873-76.


·         Related Resource

o   Hugh Ross, “Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity

·         Product Spotlight

o   The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed., by Hugh Ross

Subjects: Solar System Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.