How Pluto walks a tightrope between a stable and chaotic orbit

Pluto is lucky to exist in the orbit that it does, according to new computer simulations that show how the dwarf planet skirts near a chaotic orbit that could potentially destroy the beloved world.

The former ninth planet, now considered a dwarf planet, has an unusual orbit that is highly elongated and tilted with respect to the orbits of the planets. For 20 years of its 248-year journey around the sun, Pluto actually moves inside Neptune‘s orbit. That they never collide is a consequence of two properties of Pluto’s orbit, known as azimuthal libration and latitude libration.

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