Is the outer Solar System chaotic?

  • Hayes W
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The existence of chaos in the system of Jovian planets has been in question for the past 15 years. Various investigators have found Lyapunov times ranging from about 5 millions years upwards to infinity, with no clear reason for the discrepancy. In this paper, we resolve the issue. The position of the outer planets is known to only a few parts in 10 million. We show that, within that observational uncertainty, there exist Lyapunov timescales in the full range listed above. Thus, the ``true'' Lyapunov timescale of the outer Solar System cannot be resolved using current observations.

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  • Wayne B. Hayes

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