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Bode-Titius (law of)

Bode-Titius (law of)

the Bode-Titius Law establish a formula for the distances of the planets to the sun.

Since ancient times, astronomers and mathematicians were wondering if the distances of the planets to the Sun obeyed an order. Pythagoras (5th century BC) was convinced that there was a harmony in space between planetary spheres, just as there is one between the strings of a lyre.

Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries some German astronomers conducted studies to verify whether the distances of the planets to the Sun, which at that time were already known with good precision, effectively respected this alleged mathematical law. Johann Daniel Tietz de Wittenberg (1729-1796), known by the Latin name of Titius, established an empirical formula from which the distances of the planets to the Sun can be drawn. D = 0.4 + 0.3x2 raised to "n "where" d "is the distance in UA and" n "a sequence number.

In 1766, when Titius formulated his law, neither the asteroid belt, nor the planets beyond Saturn was known. The discovery of Uranus in 1781 and Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, in 1801, came to fill the gaps of succession. The imperfect correspondence between the effective distances of Neptune and Pluto and those indicated in the Titius table, is interpreted by some as proof that the original orbits of these two bodies were disturbed by events not yet determined.

Titius's law would have gone almost unnoticed if it had not been disseminated by the German astronomer Johann Bode (1774-1826), so the custom of defining it as the Bode-Titius law developed, although some even speak simply of the law de Bode, forgetting, in a slightly unfair way, his legitimate discoverer.


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