Astrophysical Concepts by Martin Harwit (auth.)

By Martin Harwit (auth.)

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8). Is Bode's law just a coincidence of numbers, or does it describe some deeper interrelation among the planets' orbits? In particular, does that interrelationship provide any insights into the early history of the solar system, or is it an arrangement that would hold for any system of bodies orbiting about a central mass, given only enough time for these bodies to reach some state of dynamic equilibrium? Does planet formation always accompany star formation, or do only a small fraction of the stars have planetary systems?

The planets occupy orbits that are regularly spaced according to a pattern first noticed by Bode (see Fig. 8). Is Bode's law just a coincidence of numbers, or does it describe some deeper interrelation among the planets' orbits? In particular, does that interrelationship provide any insights into the early history of the solar system, or is it an arrangement that would hold for any system of bodies orbiting about a central mass, given only enough time for these bodies to reach some state of dynamic equilibrium?

As a star contracts from an initial dust cIoud, it becomes very bright but radiates at such low temperatures that the star would be off the scale of our diagram, beyond the right edge. At this stage the star radiates only in the infrared ; but the star's life time in this state is so short that such objects have not yet been identified. Theoretical views still differ considerably, and observational data will be needed before we can be sure, but the following evolutionary sequence may be approximately correct.

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