Embarrassing Questions

I'm sure each of us has a huge list of unanswered questions. Here's a blog for archiving all such questions. It would potentially serve to get us and others some answers which have been eluding us for a long time. The answers can come in the form of comments. Please note that we should stick to questions we had honestly asked when we were in school, or pre-university college. We are strictly barred from trying to find answers to our research problems!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Some answers, some more questions

Sujju, I don't exactly know why the electron doesn't collapse into the nucleus, but I'm sure there are mathematical equations that try to answer this question!!!! And something to do with centrifugal force being balanced by the electrostatic attraction explains the elecron's going around the nucleus endlessly and tirelessly.....

My question:

1. Why are the sizes of the planets non-uniform (as in not following a particular order, ascending or descending)? Mercury and Venus are small, Earth and intermediate planets are reasonable big and then, Pluto is again small? Why this?

6 Comments:

Blogger Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Well. I don't know. But the question doesn't arise upfront in my mind, since, I don't see a reason why there should be an ascending or descending order. Yes, but there do arise some additional questions:
1. Does the distance of a planet have anything to do with the size?
2. Does it have anything to do with the speed too?
3. Is a planetary orbit a stable equilibrium? As in, if you give a small kick to a planet so as to displace it a bit from its orbit, what would it do? Spiral away into the universe? Settle into another stable orbit? Or will return to its original orbit?

Ya. Interesting!

February 12, 2006 10:33 AM  
Blogger Ajit said...

Not only are the sizes of the planets different, but the sense of the orbit too! I think pluto rotates around the sun in a direction that is opposite to that of other planets! Isn't that intersting too?

To add to Sujit's questions above, plainly going by observations, distance of a planet from Sun doesn't seem to have anything to do with its volume.

Q2 - The speed (not one revolution but rotation around Sun) has got everything to do with distance.

Q3 - I guess the answer here is best left to the reader (to experiment and find out ;) ). Joke apart, obviously, it will depend on the 'smallness' of the kick as such. Due the last year's tsunami, the whole earth kind of went into a wobbly motion for some time. Yeah, but thinking LONG TERM, the solar system seems to be quite in equilibrium.

Nice way to kickstart thoughts. Thanks Sujit and Pritesh!

February 12, 2006 7:40 PM  
Blogger fuse me said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 13, 2006 9:57 PM  
Blogger fuse me said...

Hmm about the sizes of planets, a theory goes that another star passed by pretty close to the sun. So a huge wave erupted out of the Sun and it took a form of a disc such that it was narrow at the ends and Broad in the middle. Thus the various sizes when the wave split. You will observe that the planets observe that size order except for mars, but the astroid belts offers explanation that it was earlier a part of mars.

About pluto rotating in the other direction, it is a theory that pluto did not originate from the sun, but was some random foreign body which came into Sun's influence. (theory ofcourse)

There may be another planet which has an extremely wierd orbit, which MAY also be a part of the solar system, called posiedon or vulcan

February 13, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger sathya said...

Pluto is normally used as the exception to almost anything in planetary motion. I personally don't consider pluto to be a planet. I view it as a satellite of Neptune that strayed out of orbit. This explains the size (to some extent) and its motion largely (after all it is known that satellites normally rotate in reverse to the planet). It seems logical to me that the size of a planet should depend on the distance and its density. The actual sizes may be different due to random events such as collision with an object passing through the system. In this case, the sizes (or density) must return to a steady state over a period of time (the alternate could be that it changes its position on the system over time by moving closer / drifting away from the sun).

February 17, 2006 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

planets also differ in their density their composition. may be it has something to do with the region from which each one originated. they must have changed a lot after they originated. those with high density attracted more foreign bodies in turn becomeing heavier. may be like rich become richer. their distance from sun would decide fate of atmosphere. on distant planets h2o will be ice. on close planets it will be vapour. effect of temparature will also be there on other elements and molecules.---satya

February 23, 2006 6:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home