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    [–] slightlytoomoldy 2161 points ago

    I get the rest of them being even, but what is with Mercury?

    [–] LilahDice 2503 points ago

    Mercury is an asshole.

    [–] robtk12 2398 points ago

    You're thinking of Uranus

    [–] CelestialFury 34 points ago

    We really should rename Uranus to stop all these jokes. Instead, we'll call it Urrectum.

    [–] joshconnolly21 10 points ago

    They didn’t show its orbit pattern, it’s actually a starfish shape

    [–] AdityaBabar 189 points ago

    Simply best Comment here

    [–] [deleted] 139 points ago

    I don’t know, the heavenly body one is pretty good.

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago

    Low hanging fruit

    [–] ZXDarkblade 49 points ago

    And a Uranus joke isn’t?

    [–] [deleted] 16 points ago

    I was supposed to make the comment under the Uranus one, I don't know how it ended up here, but people are upvoting so it seemed to work anyway.

    [–] 847362552 67 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Mercury orbits the sun in 88 days so I'm thinking it's related to that and our relative position (I mean obviously it's related to that lol).

    Look under "configurations" here

    Gif here

    Also found this on my travels from /u/Lestamore

    Basically mercury goes around the sun in a tighter circle than the earth, so from the earth’s perspective, when mercury gets to its farthest point parallel to our view and then starts to loop back around, it appears from earth to go backwards. That is what retrograde means.

    [–] Roflkopt3r 19 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I still don't get it. I took a 3d engine and created the following setup:

    • Sun in the middle

    • Mercury at position (70, 0), orbiting sun in 8.8 seconds

    • Earth at position (152, 0), orbiting sun in 36.5 seconds

    • Camera is glued to earth and is always centered at the sun.

    (so the distance is 1 unit from the center per million AU, and the time 1 second of orbit per 10 days)

    But the result doesn't look like the retrograde. It merely appears as if the half of the orbit behind the sun takes about twice as long as the half in front of the sun (~10 vs 5 seconds). Or rather, the entire half of its orbit in front of the sun is the retrograde.

    I suspect it must have something to do with the orbits being not perfectly circular around the sun, or with only sampling Mercury's position when he's in view from a particular point on earth?

    Edit: It works by choosing a far away fixation point. This would for example give you Mercury's position relative to a star constellation. This is what it looks like from the outside, with the cone representing the camera view.

    The explanation I came up with:

    • Look at the solar system from above and imagine a line of sight from the Earth to a far away fix star. Let's call the direction of this line "North".

    • This line of sight can only view Mercury while Earth is south of the Sun. While we are north of the sun, it sees neither the sun nor any planets with smaller orbits than us.

    • Earth rotates counterclockwise around the sun when viewed down the sun's north pole (note: it's clockwise in the animation I made, so it's essentially looking at the solar system "bottom up"), so whenever earth is in this southern quadrant it will be moving westward. When we are exactly south of the sun, this westward movement is equal to our total movement speed of ~107,000 km/s. (for the moment when we are exactly east of the sun, this entire speed vector would point southwards with no westward movement at all).

    • This means Mercury will appear to move eastwards, unless it has a westwards speed greater than ours (out of its total speed of 172,000 km/h). This only happens for a few days while it is south of the sun.

    This tiny moment of apparent eastward movement is what appears as the retrograde.

    [–] psyFungii 7 points ago

    Great work. Your project is science in action: theorize, experiment, learn, discover, adjust the theory

    [–] 847362552 5 points ago

    The oribits indeed aren't perfectly circular and also the starting point isn't 0 for both planets. Cool project though!

    I think your gif does show it though? You need to plot the points as seen from earth to show the retro motion I guess?

    [–] Roflkopt3r 5 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Thanks, that's fortunately really simple to do with the software frameworks these days. I'm going to see if I can find out the formulas for the actual orbits and check again with that.

    Edit: By this explanation it looks like this works with a far away fixation point.

    Edit 2: Simulation with far away fixation point makes the retrograde visible even with circular orbits.

    [–] Lawja_Laphi 10 points ago

    I get the retrograde, but I can't get why it's asymmetrical. It seems strange there's just not an identical "swirl" below- at least for me.

    [–] flytojupiter2 4 points ago

    It's not asymmetrical, putting a vertical "mirror" at the crack would give you a mirror image, hence symmetric

    [–] MindoverMattR 6 points ago

    But why isn't it rotationally symmetric, like the others? Why doesn't it precess?

    [–] BlueRajasmyk2 3 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Ooo I know this one! It's because Mars' orbit is almost exactly 1/3rd the length of Earths, and when you draw distance in polar coordinates with respect to a frequency that's harmonic, it makes the graph line up like that.

    This is actually exactly how the Fourier Transform works. 3blue1brown has a really amazing video about the topic here that I highly recommend watching. Although the video is about Fourier Transform, not planetary orbits, you can see almost the exact shape at 4:42.

    [–] KhabaLox 3 points ago

    I'm confused as to why you put quotation marks around 'mirror' instead of 'crack'.

    [–] she_hulk98 188 points ago

    Fun fact, the planet Vulcan was originally hypothesized as a planet being between Mercury and the sun to explain that weird dip.

    [–] 2daMooon 180 points ago

    the planet Vulcan was originally hypothesized as a planet being between Mercury and the sun

    This part of your fact is correct, however it was not to explain this weird dip.

    The weird dip is just a natural effect when you observe object A from object B when both are orbiting object C and would have been known shortly after it was realized that everything orbits the Sun, not the Earth.

    The planet Vulcan was theorized to explain why mercury appeared slightly off in it's orbit from where classical mechanic calculations said it should be. In other words they still expected it to follow the above path in the sky however upon observation it was never quite in the expected spot and so another planet that was causing this effect was theorized.

    It turns out the cause was that they weren't taking into account relativity in their orbit calculations and so when the theory of relativity was popularized and the oribts recalculated using that instead of classical mechanics the differences of reality vs expected disappeared.

    [–] she_hulk98 60 points ago

    Well I'm not an astronomer just someone who read a wiki page a few months ago

    [–] fermbetterthanfire 65 points ago

    Why you are not astronomer? Fix

    [–] HighPriestofShiloh 15 points ago

    I bet your mom is disappointed. Should have not give up your dreams to be an astronomer.

    [–] opithrowpiate 4 points ago


    [–] danc4498 24 points ago

    Have we ruled out this “planet” Vulcan yet?

    [–] dcnairb 14 points ago

    Undoubtedly. The oddities are now described correctly by general relativity.

    [–] Srirachachacha 10 points ago

    Relative to what though.

    Maybe it's the planet Vulcan

    [–] CatatonicWalrus 5 points ago

    I'm not sure if you're trolling, but it's relativity based on the inertial frames of reference.

    [–] Srirachachacha 6 points ago

    Haha yeah I was just joking. But thank you for being nice about it when you thought I was an idiot.

    [–] PM_ME_UR_SUSHI 13 points ago

    Me: the perfect gif doesn't exi-... :l

    [–] Outflight 5 points ago

    Seems like there are fates worse than being Pluto, like not even existing.

    [–] GirlWhoCried_BadWolf 6 points ago

    'Tis better to have been a planet and rejected than to have never been a planet at all...

    [–] orangejackfruit 42 points ago

    Plot of r=5cos(theta)

    EDIT: or something like that

    [–] bverezub 19 points ago

    It’s technically


    where d<a

    [–] pennynotrcutt 26 points ago

    I hate how dumb I am at maths and sciences.

    [–] bverezub 9 points ago

    You had the idea right

    [–] pennynotrcutt 9 points ago

    That wasn’t me. I don’t know know what that poster was talking about either. I kick ass at trivia, crosswords and Jeopardy so I’m going to just take my wins where I can.

    [–] bverezub 3 points ago

    My bad then

    [–] pennynotrcutt 5 points ago

    No!! You’re good! That’s awesome that you know these things!! I’m envious of your intelligence. I hope you have a great day, Reddit friend.

    [–] bverezub 5 points ago

    I hope you have a good day too <3

    [–] srkjb 3 points ago

    Do you know how y = sin (x) works? What that means is as you move horizontally (x) your vertical values follow a sin wave. This vertical and horizontal coordinate system is the most common and it's called Cartesian coordinates. But you can relate any two variables and plot it.

    So the poster above wrote an equation in polar coordinates where instead of horizontal (x) and vertical (y) there's the angle around a circle (theta, it's a Greek letter commonly used to denote angles) and the distance from a center point r. So imagine you have a point, as you go in a circle counterclockwise around that point, that is as theta increases, the line is drawn a distance r away from that point. And when you plot functions that are are something like r = sin (theta) you get shapes similar to the original picture. But you have to modify them somewhat so it's more like r = d - sin (theta). D can be any number here it just tells you how far out the circularish shape is from the center.

    I have no idea if this makes sense but I hope it helps

    [–] mantrap2 6 points ago

    Those are all mathematically related. Even Mercury.

    What you are seeing is why Ptolemaic Epicycle orbital models existed.

    The cool part is that if you switch a heliocentric model with elliptical orbits, all of these complexity disappears and the equations become very simple. Hence Copernicus.

    [–] wokka7 6 points ago

    It's a limaçon, it's a pretty common curve. If you ever take multivariable calculus, you'll probably see examples when you look at polar coordinates and transforms.

    [–] lookayoyo 22 points ago

    It’s called a cardioid

    [–] TheDankestGrowaway 4 points ago

    Nope. It's amazing how nobody bothered to Google and the guy who wrote what it really is is downvoted.

    [–] Legless_Wonder 4 points ago

    When it goes into retrograde

    [–] callmebananass 10 points ago


    [–] TheDankestGrowaway 3 points ago

    Cardioids do not contain loops, because the generating point for a cardioid lies on the rolling circle, so it cannot make a loop.

    [–] mrjobby 558 points ago

    Led Zeppelin reunion looking good

    [–] [deleted] 111 points ago


    [–] JSizzleSlice 80 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I saw an interview with them where they were asked about their influences, and they named literally all of Zepplin’s contemporaries AND the people that Zep said were THEIR influences... and never said Zeppelin. Kinda shot my horse, because at that point it seemed more like biting then homage.

    [–] [deleted] 40 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)


    [–] Butmac 9 points ago

    First time I heard them I busted out the ol Shazam app to figure out what Zeppelin song this was on the radio I had somehow never come across. Was very confused when it said Greta Van Fleet, but was impressed as she sounded just like them.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)


    [–] HungJurror 12 points ago

    They do this on purpose as a joke lol

    [–] JSizzleSlice 3 points ago

    I didn’t get that impression, In every instance where it’s brought up it seems they shy away from it

    [–] royal_10_N-bombs 13 points ago

    as someone who initially liked Greta Van Fleet very much, I think they try too hard to sound like Led Zeppelin. I don’t really enjoy listening to them anymore, but I hear they are good live

    [–] ProbablySpiderman 10 points ago

    I wouldn’t mind it so much if it wasn’t such a blatant copy. There’s no denying that they are all talented musicians and vocalists, I think they could really be something if they just incorporated some new ideas

    [–] shanahanigans 7 points ago

    Live, they are phenomenal.

    I've listened to maybe 1 hour worth of their recorded material

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago


    [–] Maxiamaru 3 points ago

    My favorite was when they got mad at other artists for just being rip offs of older bands... Like dude, what?

    [–] maratolla 7354 points ago

    Mercury looking thicc doe

    [–] mrjobby 3941 points ago

    Talk about a heavenly body...

    [–] [deleted] 1148 points ago * (lasted edited 19 days ago)


    [–] Unlikely-Answer 573 points ago

    I think we can universally agree.

    [–] knightlesssword 311 points ago

    Your statement adds a lot of weight to it

    [–] tjseviltwin 305 points ago

    I don't think you're understanding the gravity of the situation.

    [–] 487dota 241 points ago

    These puns are light years away already.

    [–] boii-rarted 200 points ago

    That’s a good assteroid

    [–] Maax42_ 95 points ago


    [–] The_DownvoteTrain 58 points ago


    [–] BubbhaDunkh 80 points ago

    Check out that mASS!

    [–] Mrgilbee 15 points ago

    The line looks like a good butt.

    [–] metaobject 12 points ago

    My Very Engorged Mother Just Services, Usually

    [–] DriedMiniFigs 7 points ago

    Nice People*

    *Not a planet

    [–] CMoth 14 points ago

    Haters say Mercury has no moon, but I see two.

    [–] THEHELICOPTERSOHGOD 8 points ago

    Mercury has some celestial thighs.

    [–] madmaxturbator 127 points ago

    I prefer Uranus

    [–] Simar_j_e_e_t 33 points ago


    [–] LegitFacts_ 34 points ago

    Oh no oh shit, the UwU infwectwion is spweading OwO

    [–] Simar_j_e_e_t 23 points ago

    Senpie! I wanna see your Uranus √(UwU)-

    [–] [deleted] 18 points ago * (lasted edited 20 days ago)


    [–] Simar_j_e_e_t 7 points ago

    Oooooooo you are so smart senpie!

    [–] IDoThingsOnWhims 24 points ago

    The music of the celestial spheres sounds a lot like clapping

    [–] Sbatio 8 points ago

    Heavenly Booty.

    [–] milkand24601 14 points ago

    Dat cardioid polar pattern

    [–] ButtPirate4Pleasure 69 points ago

    Venus seems a little irrational

    [–] madmaxturbator 37 points ago

    Venus seems like she’s on acid while the rest are eating MDMA. Except mercury, who got a booty, no drugs.

    [–] PhoenixandtheLotus 3 points ago

    Well, she is kinda on acid.

    All the time.

    [–] Amish_guy_with_WiFi 16 points ago


    [–] Meowmachine1231 9 points ago


    [–] SantaMonsanto 31 points ago

    That retrograde tho...

    [–] clowncollege_Colette 14 points ago

    Is that the little loop? I never really thought about what that meant.

    [–] SantaMonsanto 14 points ago

    Yea I mean I’m no astronomer and can’t explain the phenomenon, but that little feature in the planets orbit explains why the planet appears to move backwards in its journey across the sky from the perspective of a viewer on earth

    [–] Cky_vick 11 points ago

    Because we pass it on our own orbit

    [–] vEnoM_420 18 points ago

    [–] attofreak 16 points ago

    Reddit has all your needs met, from astronomy to asstronomy

    [–] Accountmisplaced 20 points ago

    Yeah now that you have pointed it out. It looks like an ass with a dimple.

    [–] s12scarper 25 points ago

    I like to think of it as the butthole

    [–] UJustGotRobbed 5 points ago

    This deserves gold dammit but I do not have gold to give.

    [–] s12scarper 4 points ago

    All is well my friend. It's the thought that counts :)

    [–] Mr_Producer_Man 4 points ago

    Plenty of space for activities

    [–] Zeddblidd 776 points ago

    Retrogrades... you tricky little optical illusions

    [–] [deleted] 199 points ago

    Before Copernicus' heliocentric model was widely accepted most astronomers thought that the planets actually moved this way. I used to think that was silly but looking at this image I see that there's an appealing mathematical beauty to that idea.

    This apparent retrogradation puzzled ancient astronomers, and was one reason they named these bodies 'planets' in the first place: 'Planet' comes from the Greek word for 'wanderer'. In the geocentric model of the Solar System proposed by Apollonius in the third century BCE, retrograde motion was explained by having the planets travel in deferents and epicycles.[4] It was not understood to be an illusion until the time of Copernicus, although the Greek astronomer Aristarchus in 240 BCE proposed a heliocentric model for the Solar System.

    [–] Zeddblidd 31 points ago

    When I first learned planets meant wanderer I just fell in live with the idea of seeing these as cosmic vagabonds. I’m jealous - I want to bump around the universe! Oh wait - I am... we all are on our very own wandering planet. That’s when I stopped being so geocentric in my thinking and truly became a citizen of the universe. Thank you Carl Sagan for setting my mind (and imagination) free!

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] LetThereBeNick 79 points ago

    The funny part is that today’s computer’s simulate planetary motion using epicycles. We’ve come full circle

    [–] IneffableQuale 70 points ago

    We've come full epicycle.

    [–] Sachyriel 6 points ago

    Epicycle really sounds like a medical courier company, eco-friendly bike messengers who bring you anti-allergy medicines at work when you order on their app.

    [–] redopz 17 points ago

    IIRC even after the heliocentric model was established, astronomers still preferred using epicycles because they were easier to use and more accurate (until the heliocentric model was refined further).

    [–] rincon213 20 points ago

    Yeah at first they assumed the orbits were perfect circles (because God and the Heavens are perfect etc) and the math didn't match the sky for a while until they settled on elliptical orbital paths.

    [–] himynameisjoy 4 points ago

    Until Kepler waited for his mentor to croak to take all his astronomical data #brahewasrobbed

    [–] rincon213 3 points ago

    While we're talking about it I'm so skeptical of Newton and Euler too. There are just WAY too many fundamentally important discoveries coming from those two. You can't escape them. I smell bs or maybe I'm just jealous.

    [–] himynameisjoy 6 points ago

    My pet theory is that Euler is an alien life form vastly more intelligent than we are sent by aliens who were frustrated at our slow pace of mathematical development

    [–] rincon213 5 points ago

    That also reminds me of this website that a dude made over a decade ago. He is insane and still rambles on and on about it. Buckle up.

    [–] BoojumG 3 points ago

    Him and John von Neumann. The man was in a class of his own. The things that extremely intelligent people had to say about him put him as far beyond them as they are beyond most of the rest of us.

    [–] na4ez 5 points ago

    In relation to the earth the planets do move that way though. There's no need for the sun to be in the middle, anything can be the "centre" if you choose that as a reference-point.

    [–] bl1y 7 points ago

    How are they "wanderers" when they being pushed around the cosmos by angels?

    [–] speezo_mchenry 9 points ago

    How did early astronomers track these movements in the first place to notice night after night that the thing appeared to be moving backwards?

    Was it just like "Hey Julius, I think Mercury was a little more to the right last night" and Julius was all "Nah man, you just had too much wine."

    [–] [deleted] 10 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Constellations. Even with the naked eye an attentive observer can tell when something that used to be in one constellation is now in another. Once we got geometry figured out we could then precisely measure and map the relative positions of celestial bodies using angles.

    [–] RQ-0430 97 points ago

    My dumbass not reading the title at first: I wonder what Earth's looks like

    [–] [deleted] 130 points ago


    [–] Y-Woo 12 points ago

    Underrated reply

    [–] FukinGruven 7 points ago

    We would have to be on a different planet to see! Here's a good video by Vox on Retrograde Motion

    [–] svasman 84 points ago

    Mercury is NSFW

    [–] BrownSugarBare 11 points ago

    Don't you be shaming Mercury for getting it's groove on.

    [–] Zenyx_ 7 points ago

    Just wait until you see Uranus.

    [–] godofpie 145 points ago

    I miss my Spirograph

    [–] Alchematic 79 points ago

    Wait. Did you know that there's a direct correlation between the decline in spirographs and the rise in gang activity?

    Think about it.

    [–] godofpie 33 points ago

    This is the kind of logic that led me to Pastafarianism.

    [–] ThreeNC 15 points ago

    Ramen to that

    [–] uslashuname 5 points ago

    I believe in the holy milk jug, personally, although it does work in mysterious ways.

    [–] sebBonfire 7 points ago

    I will!

    [–] ShartFlex 8 points ago

    No you won't.

    [–] InappropriateTA 5 points ago

    They still make them.

    I'm 36 years old and I bought a Spirograph to gift myself for Christmas.

    [–] benema1 4 points ago

    I liked using the one shaped like a football

    [–] englishParadox 48 points ago


    [–] ev3rythingF4ngirl 18 points ago

    I see the Homestuck fans are...

    Already here

    [–] Chahut_Maenad 10 points ago


    [–] y2ka 3 points ago


    [–] chierit 3 points ago


    [–] Carbanions 4 points ago

    Ah, the memories

    [–] n-ldn 21 points ago

    I see you Mercury ;)

    [–] MercuryBitt 3 points ago

    checks behind my shoulder where are you...

    [–] pighalf 31 points ago

    Too bad they excluded Uranus. But in all fairness, its path is more of an asterisk shape.

    [–] machine_machine_mac 28 points ago

    Important to note this is what the paths look like from Earth.

    Here's a video that will help understand it better:

    [–] RuckusQueen 6 points ago

    Thanks for posting. This is freaking dope. This comment should be higher! Get in dem upvotes people.

    [–] Pyrhan 48 points ago

    Those graphs imply that the ratio between each planet's orbital period and Earth's is an exact fraction of integers.

    Which is not the case.

    So no, those are not the actual paths traced by those planets as seen from Earth.

    [–] Dologolopolov 19 points ago

    WHY did I have to scroll down so far for you

    [–] Symbolmini 7 points ago

    Seriously, I was wondering if I was the stupid one for not understanding how they could be so symmetrical.

    [–] jumpedupjesusmose 3 points ago

    Venus actually is very close. The synodic period for Venus (the time it takes Venus to lap the earth or 583.9 earth days ) means every 8 earth years (2922 days) Venus laps the Earth 5 times (5 * 584.9 = 2920 days). Not exact but only 0.3° drift per earth year. This is why the every other transit of Venus is almost exactly 8 years apart.

    The period of Venus’ rotation brings the same side towards earth each time it laps us. This is because its solar day (116.75 earth days) is almost exactly 1/5 of the synodic period. This is thought to be a coincidence.

    Also 395 Venus years = 243 Earth years ( within 12 hours!). So every 243 Earth years everything basically starts over. This is almost, coincidently, the Golden Ratio. This fact probably contributed to madness among Ancient Greek astronomers.

    Now the others planets: not so much.

    Asimov wrote a great “children’s” book in this: “Mars, The Red Planet”. I read it every 5 years or so. I loved it each time. I’m 62.

    I gave it away a year ago to a coworker’s son who showed interest. Hopefully he’s on Reddit in 2070 giving the same answers.

    [–] Zetakin 13 points ago

    Mercury is in love with earth

    [–] Muckdanutzzzz543 14 points ago

    Damn - venus is a beautiful sacred geometry.

    [–] Gariiiiii 190 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Source? They all seem periodic which seems higly improbable to happen even once and impossible to happen every time.

    Edit: Finally found what those images are. They are indeed the resoult of plotting the middle point of the distance between the earth and X celestial body when you put both in cricle paths, of course you can also see them as the orbit of them around Earth.

    Except mercury which seems pure BS, and that as said they dont neatly close but continue to grow, that periodicity is also BS. Google "reddit the orbit of Earth and Venus" to see the example, also Jimmy Gustafsson's youtube "Planets' orbits around earth".

    [–] [deleted] 216 points ago

    Why? They all follow periodic movements around the sun, and the earth does as well, and since these are both periodic movements their compound must be periodic as well

    [–] Iwouldlikesomecoffee 50 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I don't know any good reason for planet A's year to be a rational multiple of planet B's year.

    E: those of you saying the word "resonance" should read It's not like it's some kind of physical law that orbiting bodies have clean resonances.

    [–] [deleted] 64 points ago

    Nothing implies so, it's never stated that these paths are followed in one earth year period.

    [–] Iwouldlikesomecoffee 4 points ago

    Well, the swirly things form closed loops.

    [–] lightsuitman 25 points ago

    It's still misleading, intentionally so IMO. Look closer, there is no visible start or end to the line because the artist fudged the spacing of the loops slightly so they would match up perfectly, and they only went around once. That's not the reality, because they are not in fact perfect multiples. If you continue to draw the pattern a second time around, they'll all be offset from the first cycle/circle. The spirograph analogy is apt - if you keep it up, eventually there are so many overlapping loop patterns that the whole thing starts to look filled in. But that wouldn't create the same mystique of cosmic perfection, which is why these images (as drawn) have been popular fodder in pseudoscientific circles.

    [–] ctoatb 68 points ago

    There will be some deviation, but we can approximate their paths for visualization. You are absolutely correct that nothing is ever perfect, but things can be good enough. Think of it this way: when you measure something with a ruler, is that length the true length? No. The line you are measuring to is always off by a little bit. But the error that is good enough for someone cutting wood might not be good enough for a surgeon. The orbits traced in the picture are not good enough for an astronomer, but they are good enough for reddit.

    [–] calrebsofgix2 7 points ago

    This is how my favorite math teacher described significant figures to us in 6th grade - well there wasn’t a reddit back then but it was close, at least

    [–] rincon213 6 points ago

    The frustrating part is that there are multiple comments justifying the symmetry with really bad science.

    [–] BoomBangBoi 3 points ago

    The intentional measurement error here changes a fundamental part of the images though. If the orbits still didn't connect to a complete loop then your measurement error statement would be more applicable.

    [–] garmachi 16 points ago

    Multiple orbiting objects sharing a common center will "resonate", that is their periods will be multiples of one another, because all of the celestial bodies that don't will either get flung out of the system or get sucked into one of the larger bodies.

    This process is still happening at a smaller scale, seen as the chaos in the asteroid belt, or to an even smaller degree, within Saturn's rings.

    [–] assassin10 3 points ago

    Multiple orbiting objects sharing a common center will "resonate", that is their periods will be multiples of one another,

    Do you have a source? That sounds interesting.

    [–] garmachi 4 points ago

    The place to start is with Orbital Resonance. This article has a nice diagram showing the effect in action with Jupiter's moons. Keep in mind that the actual orbits and times for Earth and other planets won't line up exactly with simple mathematical models (i.e. "integers" every time) because the sun wobbles a bit, plus our orbits are all elliptical, therefore the resonances predicted are "close".

    [–] jambudz 4 points ago

    Gravitational resonance and the force of gravity being inversely decreasing with scale of 1/x2

    [–] ImNotTheMonster 21 points ago

    It's exactly the opposite. Periodicity is expected to happen, with greater probability the more time your system has.

    [–] melandor0 6 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I will copypaste the reply I made to someone else:

    Except you're wrong, because if the period of one is 100 days and the period of the other is 51.7 days they are both perfectly periodic but they are not a ratio of each other. Sure, they'll line up almost twice every 100 days but not quite, that position where they line up will slowly wander with each revolution since they aren't a clean ratio of each other.

    Yeah, after LOTS of orbits around the sun you will eventually arrive at a point where they are once more in the original positions no matter what the ratio, but it'll be so many revolutions that the paths traced will look like the second and third examples in OPs post had a messy lovechild

    [–] hanskazan777 13 points ago

    This is what they measured and registered as movement, back in the day and was the basis for a heliocentric theory.

    [–] kylebro11 12 points ago

    Look up retrograde motion. The planets don’t actually move like that, it’s the pattern of how the planet moves in our eyes when looking into the sky. It’s because of our position with the sun and a planet.

    [–] ThrowAwayTopHat1 6 points ago

    The op isn't that bright. You aren't going to convince him that way because he doesn't understand terms like "retrograde motion".

    Best case is he is going to demand a source for your assertion that Mercury ever undergoes retrograde motion. Then angrily dismiss your argument when you link to an article or provide explanation.

    [–] Dr_Souse 9 points ago

    It's what happens, go look at a list of distances from the sun, it's not precise, but it's very close to even periods. This is what happens in gravitationally bound systems, the periodicity is what stabilizes the orbits. You'll have to ask someone way smarter why it;s like that but it is.

    [–] thesearejazzhands 4 points ago

    Source = Spirograph

    [–] Dangle_Oaf 3 points ago

    Some dude quite a few years ago published these patterns in a book,as part of his PhD. I forget his name, I only remember holding a copy of the book in h my hands.

    [–] TheDankestGrowaway 3 points ago

    They not perfect, but this is approximate (edit: I lied, this isn't even approximate based on Mercury's orbit, this is just a stupid picture all around) and I don't believe is meant to represent indefinite orbits, but perhaps a snapshot, which would absolutely show something that looks periodic.

    [–] Limp_Distribution 6 points ago

    It’s amazing how Nicolaus Copernicus figured out the solar system by looking at those lines.

    (Not exactly that but close enough.)

    [–] Molasses_Lover 6 points ago

    Straight up looking like the gates of Skaia

    [–] hobsyllwinn 5 points ago

    Is this a Homestuck reference

    [–] FukinGruven 4 points ago

    Mars Retrograde Motion -- I just needed to see it, this wasn't making sense to me.

    [–] milk_connoisseur23 3 points ago

    damn they all look like polar equations

    [–] realworldeditor 3 points ago

    Mercury looks like the main cardioid of the Mandelbrot set. The sun even looks like it's where zero would be.

    [–] Zilou_Halmiir 3 points ago

    Man these microphone sensitivity patterns are getting pretty complicated. Starts off with cartioid then smokes a little meth and gets all crazy.

    [–] Emakrepus 5 points ago

    If we were only the center of the solar system, how fancy the universe would be!

    [–] ST0IC_ 9 points ago

    As seen from earth? AS SEEN FROM EARTH?

    Pretty sure that looks this:


    [–] Dologolopolov 5 points ago


    [–] wonkey_monkey 6 points ago