- Using observational data from the past 18 years, scientists now say that Mars is swinging.
- The oscillation of the planet causes its poles to move regularly.
- The earth also shakes, but the shaking of Mars is more mysterious than the earth, because Mars has no ocean.
When you think of the planets in our solar system, you might think that they just spin like a top. They rarely rotate exactly in line with the orbital plane (for example, the earth rotates at an angle of about 24 degrees), but most simple solar system models make them look like planets rotating perfectly. Well, some are not, we just discovered that Mars is one of them.
Published in Geophysical Research LetterScientists revealed that Mars is a bit swaying about this. This means that its poles are not always perfectly aligned, and it takes about 207 days to convert. This makes Mars the second planet with a known swing (called Chandler̵
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The Earth’s Chandler swing has been around for some time. It was named after Seth Carlo Chandler, who first noticed the swing in 1891. people. On the other hand, Mars is more mysterious, which is largely due to all the things that the red planet does not possess.
The origin of the earth’s wobble is not yet fully understood. In theory, it should stabilize over time. However, the fact that there is so much water and a thick atmosphere on the earth means that this imbalance can continue indefinitely. On the other hand, Mars is very different.
Summary of the author’s findings:
For any solar system other than the Earth, this is the first detection of a component of the movement of Mars’ rotation axis on the surface of Mars, called Chandler’s swing. The period of this movement is 206.9±0.5 days, the amplitude on the surface is 10 cm, and when viewed from the North Pole, it is almost circular in the counterclockwise direction. The pole movement is determined based on the radio tracking observation results of the Mars Odyssey, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Global Surveyor, in order of decreasing sensitivity. The detection of Chandler swings has improved our understanding of mantle energy dissipation in the time interval close to the swing period.
The wobbles detected on Mars are more subtle than those on Earth, but Mars also does not have any moving surface water to help maintain movement. However, Mars does have an atmosphere. It is not as strong as the earth, but atmospheric pressure may help keep the swing going. Nevertheless, it may eventually disappear completely, although it is difficult to say how long it will take.