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No. 43: Jan-Feb 1986

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The Planets As Fragments Of An Ancient Companion Of The Sun

J. Webb has called attention to a fascinating feature of the solar system.

"If one calculates the total energy and the total angular momentum of the planets, the numbers turn out to be very nearly the same as those of a single planet having a mass essentially the same as the total mass of all the planets, and orbiting the sun in an orbit which is near the present-day center of mass of all the planets. The possibility that the solar system was once a binary star (or is in the process of becoming one) needs to be examined more closely."

(Webb, Jerry; "The Solar System and a Binary Star: Is There a Connection?" American Journal of Physics, 53:938, 1985.)

Cross reference. See SF#42 for speculations about the solar system once being a quintuple star system.

From Science Frontiers #43, JAN-FEB 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss