Jupiter shifts orbit, Earth goes rogue...what happens?

I was watching a show on Science last night that was discussing hot Jupiter’s that have been observed orbiting other stars. The theory is that these hot Jupiter’s once orbited further out from their star, but that they shifted orbit recently (in geological terms) and now orbit very close to their star. In the process of this shift, however, they tend to shift the orbits of the other planets in a system, sometimes tossing planets completely out of orbit and into interstellar space. I was quite taken with the thought of cold, dead worlds streaking between the stars, and what would happen to worlds that were formerly inhabited by technological species, as well as rich life filled worlds suddenly tossed out of their solar system and adrift in such conditions.

So, my question is, what would happen if our own Jupiter shifted orbit and tossed the Earth into interstellar space? Let’s assume that no other damage is done to the Earth (i.e. nothing large smashes into us during this process).

I assume that pretty much all life would cease to exist in a fairly short time frame. Would our atmosphere rapidly leave us? The oceans would presumably also freeze, but since the planet is still geologically active (I assume it would remain so), there would still be hot spots I assume where perhaps some life would continue for a while. What about all of the man made structures? If the atmosphere froze or other wise dissipated then weathering would cease at some point. What would happen to them over time? Is it possible that, having completely (or almost completely) killing all life on such a world, that some remnant of civilization might survive longer in these conditions than they would on living planets?

I’m not sure if there is a GQ answer to the above…if not then Mods, feel free to move the thread to IMHO.

There is a short story called “A Pail of Air” that has a similar scenario, and has the atmosphere freeze out as snow. The group of survivors in the story periodically went out to grab pails of the snow to heat up for breathable air.

Eventually they are contacted by other, more upscale, survivors from nuclear research facilities where they’d got some nuclear-powered communities up and running.

I swear the** Bad Astronomer** wrote once about what would happen if the sun just disappeared, which is pretty much the same thing. It’s not on his site, maybe it’s a post somewhere here. Like **leachim **says, when the nitrogen falls as snow, it’s game over. At least for us.

According to Popular Science, though, trees would last several decades (what?). And, although they don’t mention it, with undersea water still liquid and steam vents still there, those little life forms that don’t ultimately depend on photosynthesis would remain alive until geologic activity ceased. They also suggest humans living in submarines, which is ridiculous. Ask a bunch of Russian sailors who’ve been underwater for several years now how that’s working out.

There’s lots of problems with the scenario in that story, so I wouldn’t take it as anything like what it would really be like.

As for the OP, planets shifting orbits by that much only happens in the early phases of stellar system formation. There has to be lots of gas, dust, or planetisimals around for the planets to interact with in order to change orbits that drastically. Those get mostly cleared out of the system by the end of planetary formation. So there won’t be any intelligent life (or likely any life at all) on the planets kicked out.

Maybe one of those scattered worlds enters a stable solar system and shakes things up. Sort of like When Worlds Collide, except the world with life just gets thrown out of the system on its own.

As an aside, scientists just identified the first rogue planet two weeks ago. It is a gas giant, traveling alone through space, 80 light years away. It is also only about 12 million years old. I am wondering if they can locate the star that lost it. Linky:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131009153455.htm

These hot Jupiter’s they are finding are fully formed and from mature solar systems, not early formation systems. Granted, it’s a show on the Science Channel so I have no idea how accurate it was, but what you are saying here is contradictory to what they were saying in the show.

Yeah, but with something as massive as Jupiter, the interloper would have to be something really huge (similar in size to Jupiter or Saturn) to perturb Jupiter’s orbit substantially enough to move the Earth, and I suspect that the presence of something that large would probably just affect Earth directly unless everything was somehow just so that it messed up Jupiter and didn’t manage to mess up Earth.

The OP seems to be interested in what happens to the Earth. Whether it’s the interloper affecting the Earth directly, or through Jupiter, doesn’t matter.

Yes. Regardless of how it happens, I’d like to know what 'dopers think would happen to the Earth if, intact, it was flung out of the solar system and became a rogue planet.

Right, but they probably got into their present orbits a long time ago. It makes for great narrative, but my guess is that **dtilque **is right - if a ‘Jupiter’ is going to come in close to its parent star, or have a highly elliptical orbit, it’s probably doing its damage to the smaller planets early in the system’s history.

Also, I looked for a post from the Bad Astronomer here on the site, but I guess he changed his user ID before he left? I can’t find any posts by the Bad Astronomer.

Oh - he was The Bad Astronomer. Still can’t find where he wrote about the sun going out.

I suppose it could happen if a Jupiter sized rouge planet or black hole or similar large mass passed sufficiently close to our system.

Bottom line is probably all life except for some microbes around deep sea geothermal vents would die in short order. The average temperature of Pluto is around 369 F. Not that far off from absolute zero and the freezing . So expect that the Earth would eventually get that cold or colder.

Forget collecting a “Pail of Air”. The cryogenically frozen air would shatter the pale…and probably the person carrying it.

The only question is how long it would take. It would depend on a number of factors like how quickly the Earth is moving away from the sun and how quickly it will dissipate heat.

That actually might be a kind of cool End of the World film. They touched on something similar in the film Sunshine, except it was the sun that was going out and the film focused on the mission to re-light it, rather than the people back on Earth.

This question has definitely been discussed on these forums in the past. Not necessarily in reference to Jupiter, but the idea of what happens if the Earth is ejected by some means. I can’t quite find it, but I know it’s there somewhere. Maybe someone remembers it, or has better powers of Google than I do this morning.

From 2010 we have If the sun stoped shining, which in turn leads as well to the 2007 thread What Would Happen If The Sun Burned Out?

Cheerful reading for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Yes, things are definitely getting cooler around these parts…the days are getting shorter…[del]the eternal darkness and atmosphere-liquefying cold are coming![/del] It’s late October, and in a couple more months it will be winter.

It has been answered several times in the past, but I think mostly wrong. Most people are posting without cites.

As someone astutely pointed out, the sun goes out every night and stays that way until next sunrise. Temperatures don’t drop to arctic levels each night. I would trust the Popular Science link I posted near the top over a hundred dopers saying, “it’d get deep space cold in a matter of hours.”

Is anyone claiming that the temperature drop would happen in a matter of hours?

In those old threads, particularly the 2007 one, linked in MEBuckner’s post.

The sun is still heating the other side of the planet.

Your article said -100F within a year. I would have thought it’d be faster since the temperature drops 5-10 degrees normally just by having the sun go down at night.

Based on the show I saw, I’d say this is incorrect. They were talking about these hot Jupiter’s lasting in the millions of years only, in their new close orbits to their suns…from memory, the one they were talking about would last no more than 10 million years at most. And they were positing on the show rocky planets such as ours being tossed out of the solar system when these hot Jupiter’s shifted orbit, so that means it didn’t happen in the very early stages of planetary formation but later on.

At any rate, I’m more interested in what might happen to the Earth if it was ejected from the solar system, regardless of the exact mechanism. From watching the show, it looked like they were positing a planet would be ejected fairly quickly, once the hot Jupiter shifted orbit towards the sun…less than a year from the little diagram they were showing (looked like that PC game where you can play with planetary orbits and create solar systems…can’t recall the name of it).