A series of unique animations, created using a supercomputer, shows what would happen if the Earth collided with another planet.
Research by astrophysicists at Durham University in England can shed light on how the planets evolved in the early days of the solar system. Back then, their trajectories were not as stable as they are today.
Many planets, including Earth, have therefore collided.
Each time a different collision
Researchers at the University of Durham have been using the COSMA 3D supercomputer to study the impact of the collision on the planet’s atmosphere in recent months. They simulated hundreds of different types of collisions differing in speed and angle of impact.
One of the researchers, Steve Spaleta, and his colleagues selected the most interesting ones, accompanied them with epic music and posted them on YouTube.
“We know that planetary collisions can have a dramatic impact on the atmosphere, but this is the first time we have been able to study them in such a wide range and in such detail,” wrote one of the researchers, Jacob Kegerreis, in Astrophysics Magazine.
The moon born of an accident
One of the planetary “accidents” is described in the Great Impact Theory (The Giant Impact Formation, or Big Splash). 4,500 to 4,425 billion years ago, the young Earth collided with the protoplanet Theia, the size of Mars. The Moon was then formed from the material ejected into orbit.
Theia (smaller) hits the Earth. For witnesses, we remind you that, according to various theories, this was 4.510 to 4.425 billion years ago. | zdroj:
Henry Seldon/Wikipedia Commons
New simulations can help astrophysicists evaluate hypotheses about such collisions in the early phase of the solar system.
It follows from them that the direct impact of a large body leads to the complete destruction of the atmosphere and part of the mantle. From this it can be concluded that the Earth did not have this type of collision with Theia, because it lost “only” ten to fifty percent of its atmosphere.
“Despite the remarkably different consequences caused by different angles of incidence and velocities of bodies, we have found an easy way to predict how much collided atmosphere the planet may lose,” writes astrophysicist Kegerreis in a research report.
The orbits of the planets are currently stable. Therefore, we do not have to worry about this situation in the foreseeable future. | source:
The study is described in detail in Astrophysical journal.