posted on Jun, 1 2015 @ 02:31 PM
a reply to: tanka418
It's really significant, because an elliptical orbit that results in the minimum distance being half the maximum also results in radiation intensity
being four times as great at the minimum (due to the inverse square law). This is quite a difference.
There are several possibilities. One is that planets with highly elliptical orbits either don't intersect or otherwise significantly interact with
other planet's orbits, or else they are too young to have had such interaction yet. A popular idea for the formation of our own solar system is that
it formed with many more than 8 planets, or planet-like objects, but only 8 survived.
Those that didn't survive may have been flung out of the solar system, or flung into the sun, through gravitational interactions, or as in the case of
the hypothesized Theia, collided with another planet (in that case, Earth).
So you may get all kinds of elliptical orbits forming initially, but if there are a lot of planets the highly elliptical orbits may have a hard time
surviving long-term due to interactions. If there aren't a lot of other planets to interact with the elliptical orbit, there's no reason it can't
survive, though I agree with the article that it probably wouldn't be the best place for life as we know it.
a reply to: intrptr
Yes you can see the eccentricity data here
which is a measure of how
"not circular" the orbit is; the bigger the number, the less circular. Mercury isn't that circular but "roughly circular" is probably not a bad
description for the rest. The orbit of Venus is closest to a circle of our eight planets.
edit on 1-6-2015 by Arbitrageur because: clarification