General Question

XCNuse's avatar

Ecliptic Solar Plain.. How did it form?

Asked by XCNuse (1187 points ) August 20th, 2008

For those that don’t know what the Ecliptic Plain is, it’s the axis that all planets revolve around the sun (except for former Pluto), anyways, how did something this perfectly flat form in a universe which contains no straight lines except this?

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3 Answers

Harp's avatar

Here’s an explanation so succinct that even I can understand it almost:

“Early in the formation of a galaxy or solar system, there exists a large roughly spherical swarm of small particles and molecules whizzing about the center of mass in seemingly random directions. Although there is always one direction in which more particles tend to be moving than any other direction. Particles often collide and adhere to each other, thus cancelling out much of each other’s angular momentum. Eventually, larger bodies form and almost all of their angular momentum is channeled in the direction that originally had only slight dominance. The concentrating of constituents into a flatter shape produces a gravitational influence which accelerates the process. The result is a seemingly well ordered rotating disk system as with a galaxy, solar system, or most beautifully in the ring system of Saturn for which that planet’s equatorial bulge is a contributing factor.” (source)

AstroChuck's avatar

Harp took my answer, word for word.

Judi's avatar

When I first saw thia question I thought it was about Sarah Palin. I need to get more sleep!!

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