Chaos and Stability in the Long-term Dynamics of the Inner Planets in the Solar System

Federico Mogavero

The orbits of the inner planets within the Solar System exhibit chaotic behavior, forbidding deterministic predictions of their positions and velocities beyond a few tens of millions of years. Despite this chaos, the planetary orbits demonstrate remarkable dynamical stability over timescales comparable to the age of the Solar System. The likelihood that Mercury’s eccentricity exceeds 0.7, potentially resulting in catastrophic events such as close encounters or collisions, is estimated to be only about 1% over the next 5 billion years. In this talk, I will cover recent advancements in isolating the planet interactions that lead to random changes in the orbits over long times. Furthermore, I will present a global picture in which the intriguing stability of the planetary orbits over the Solar System’s lifetime emerges quite naturally.