Twenty-one planets, and not a single Sun

This is how 21 planets of the same mass could move around under gravity, if you were really careful in positioning them:

21 planets and no sun

From Cosmic Variance, where you’ll find more moving pictures and some history and explanation. According to Sean, these planets move in an 8-shape, but I prefer to think of it as the infinity sign. Although it’s certainly not an infinitely stable state…


  1. Onno


    anders zet ik de goede link even neer:

  2. “A pair of strange new worlds that blur the boundaries between planets and stars have been discovered beyond our Solar System.
    A few dozen such objects have been identified in recent years but this is the first set of “twins”.

    Dubbed “planemos”, they circle each other rather than orbiting a star.”
    :-) Cool.

    En… je gaat een bmw kopen?!?

  3. Cool! I never know b4.

    i search your blog from google.
    i will come to read your blog again. ^^

  4. I think that if the masses of all of these planets are equal and the gravitational pull is also equal then perhaps the flow will be continuous. Unless some external force disrupts the flow I think they will just continue to go round in circles.

  5. I prefer to think that it is optical illusion. Ok, so I think it is a good presentation on how to convey thoughts about the planets’ activities.

  6. wow. I refuse to believe that!

  7. dr. dave: it’s not possible in practice of course. The smallest disturbance will destroy the pattern and, I imagine, the planets will collide into one another…

  8. stef16

    yeah in theory everything is possible.

  9. certainly not everything!

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