Jupiter and Venus dislocate Earth's orbit. Every 405,000 years, the Earth swings from a nearly circular orbit to a much more elliptical route around the Sun, due to the gravitational influence of these nearby giants.
This shift cycle has implications for scientists' understanding of climate, evolution, and even the evolution of the solar system itself.
Researchers exploring Arizona's prehistoric rocks have found the first physical evidence for the long cycle were predicted by astrophysicists. The discovery was published this week in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences .  The team of scientists has evidence for this cycle around traced back about 215 million years – 165 million years longer than mathematics alone can reliably predict. After more than 50 million years, too many other factors mix in the sums.
"This is really complicated stuff," said study co-author Paul Olsen, a paleontologist at Columbia University, in a statement. "We're basically using the same mathematical methods to send starships to Mars, and sure that works, but once you start transferring interplanetary movements back into the past and connecting them to the climate, we can not say we're understand how everything works. "
Cores, No Calculating Machines
The research team analyzed 1500-foot rock cores from the Szczecin National Park and deep cores from New York and New Jersey suburbs. The Arizona Rock, dating back from 209 million to 215 million years ago, dates back to early dinosaur evolution.
The rocks of New Jersey and New York do not contain the layers of volcanic ash that can accurately date but the team believed that they backdated into the same time window. The cores show that New Jersey and New York were alternately wet and dry. The team thought this might be an indication of the 405,000-year cycle.
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Although the team could only accurately date the Arizona cores, indications of a polarity reversal can be found – if the magnetic poles of the Earth every 200,000 years or so reverse – in both rock groups.
The team combined the data from both rock groups and chose the 405,000-year cycle as a kind of master of climate change intensity scale. The cycle seemed to have an indirect impact on short-term choice or reduce the impact of shorter cycles.
Complex cosmic gymnastics
Other cosmic gymnastics, including the earth's climate swing, has a shorter eccentricity of 100,000 years The tilting, wobbling axis of the earth
Known as "Milankovitch cycles," these may be the Earth's climate severely impaired in the short term. Although scientists have shown that they have been causing hot flashes many times over the last few million years over the past few million years, it's difficult to pin down their impact.
Some can cancel each other out, combine others and cause drastic changes, for example. The relationship between these cycles and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide is also discussed.
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"There are other shorter orbital cycles, but looking back in time, It is very difficult to know who you are dealing with at any given time because they change over time, "said lead author Dennis Kent, an expert in paleomagnetism at Columbia University and Rutgers University, in the statement , "The beauty of it is that it stands alone, it does not change, everyone else moves over it."
Every 405,000 years, according to Kent and Olson, seasonal differences become more intense as orbit reaches its elliptical peak. Then, 202,500 years later, these differences calm as the orbit becomes more circular.
These changes will have a major impact on ecosystems around the world and affect the evolution of life itself. Linda Hinnov, a professor at George Mason University who was not involved in the study, said the research could help scientists understand more about the evolution of dinosaurs. The results, she said, are "a significant new contribution to geology and astronomy."
Day by day this huge orbital metronome will not have that much impact on us. "It's way down the list of so many other things that can affect the climate on [time scales]which is important to us," said Kent.