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Thread: Duna and Ike

  1. #1

    Duna and Ike

    In Kerbal Space Program, there is a planet called Duna. orbiting it is a Moon called Ike. Ike is very massive compared to Duna, and the two objects are very close together. A Double Planet is a system where two massive objects orbit each other, so Pluto and Charon are a Double Dwarf Planet system. So then my mind collided these two thoughts together.

    In real life, what if there was a system like Duna and Ike? Let's assume for the moment their sizes are corrected from the Kerbal Universe to 10.61 times their Kerbal size. Obviously "Barycenters would happen.", but what would happen to the planets themselves?

    Note: The above is written as an email to xkcd "What If?". I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts on the idea, in the likely event Mr. Randall Munroe does not get around to answering this question.


  2. #2

    Re: Duna and Ike

    Last edited by GregroxMun; Yesterday at 15:11.

  3. #3

    Re: Duna and Ike

    Barycenters would happen, presumably.

  4. #4

    Re: Duna and Ike

    "Barycenters would happen"

    I laughed a little. Yeah, that's probably a given. The question is what would happen to the planets themselves.

  5. #5

    Re: Duna and Ike

    "Barycenters would happen"

    I laughed a little. Yeah, that's probably a given. The question is what would happen to the planets themselves.
    They would orbit each other, tidally-locked, at a fixed distance. Occasionally, they would be hit by asteroids and comets. They'll keep orbiting each other until until some external factor interferes- be it the end of the universe, the red giant phase of their host star, another body making a close approach, etc.

    If they're orbiting in a solar system with lots of planets, such systems are not stable over the long term. Not even our own solar system is stable in the long term, it's actually possible that by the time the Sun turns red giant, one (or two?) of the current inner planets could be gone, ejected after a close encounter with another inner planet. It's impossible to predict, because the solar system is a chaotic system and we can't measure the positions of the planets (and other properties) closely enough to predict their orbits a billion, two billion, three billion years from now. Over such long periods, orbital resonances with other bodies (I think Jupiter being the most significant, despite its distance) can pump up the eccentricity of the orbit of an inner planet to the point where "bad things" start to happen.

  6. #6

    Re: Duna and Ike

    Last edited by |Velocity|; Yesterday at 15:54.

  7. #7

    Re: Duna and Ike

    I've never heard any claims like this of the inner planets being in orbits unstable within that time frame...

    But as to the question... I gues the planets would end up being sort of egg shaped, with the "eggs" pointing at each other. The atmosphere of duna would preferentially accumulate on the ike facing side, as would any liquid if duna had surface liquids (ie, like perpetual high tide).

    But I think they are well outside the rochelimit, so you wouldn't get a "rocheworld" type effect.

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