Ageing sun causes orbital expansion

Ageing sun causes orbital expansion

Washington, January 19: NASA’s latest finding reveals that the orbits of planets in the solar system are expanding as a repercussion of sun’s ageing.  As the sun ages, it loses mass and the gravitational grip which will gradually expands the orbits of other planets which is being pulled by the sun.

The revelation was made in a joint study between a team of NASA scientists and MIT scientists. The team discerned the peculiar phenomenon by observing the planets, particularly the Mercury. They were successful in measuring this mass loss  indirectly and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury’s orbit.

An image demonstrating The Sun’s dynamics and its influence on the planet’s orbit, released by NASA

The discover provides crucial details to accurately monitor the solar mass loss, because it is related to the stability of G, the gravitational constant. Although G is considered a fixed number, the invariability of the ‘constant’ is still a fundamental question in physics.

“Mercury is the perfect test object for these experiments because it is so sensitive to the gravitational effect and activity of the Sun,” said Antonio Genova, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher and the lead author of the study.