Research Articles

Chaotic Evolution of the Solar System

Science  03 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5066, pp. 56-62
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5066.56

Abstract

The evolution of the entire planetary system has been numerically integrated for a time span of nearly 100 million years. This calculation confirms that the evolution of the solar system as a whole is chaotic, with a time scale of exponential divergence of about 4 million years. Additional numerical experiments indicate that the Jovian planet subsystem is chaotic, although some small variations in the model can yield quasiperiodic motion. The motion of Pluto is independently and robustly chaotic.