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Thread: Similarities between atoms and planets coincidence?

  1. #1 Similarities between atoms and planets coincidence? 
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    In an atom, electrons and such orbit the nucleus, however is the reason for orbit the same as those for planets in a solar system orbiting a star?


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  3. #2 Re: Similarities between atoms and planets coincidence? 
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KooKas
    In an atom, electrons and such orbit the nucleus, however is the reason for orbit the same as those for planets in a solar system orbiting a star?
    No, because the model of the atom in which the electrons orbit the nucleus like the planets orbit the Sun is wrong and was abandoned a long time ago. The only place you see it any more is in the writings of authors who have not kept up with modern science.


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  4. #3  
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    The planets' orbits are held in place by gravity whereas the electrons in an atom are held by electrostatic forces. The Bohr model, where an electron acts like a point negative charge circling the positive nucleus, sort of works for the hydrogen atom but breaks down in more complex atoms. As noted, the model was abandoned in favor of quantum mechanics.
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    If you could unify G with EM, then yes maybe you could use the same model. But gravity in the nucleus is VERY small compared with EM forces.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  6. #5  
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    They're not entirely dissimilar either. Just not quite the same. Electrons certainly don't move in the kind of orbits planets use, but we do believe their behavior to be based on some kind of law of attraction, and their movement to be more or less inertial (with some relativistic modifications, of course)


    My take is this: Certain things change as we move toward larger scales, but certain things stay the same. A galaxy isn't like a solar system either. It seems that scale makes some things different. The question is what things stay the same, and why do the things that change change?
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