Solar System Dynamics

In the past decade, the study of the orbits of small bodies within our Solar System has undergone something of a renaissance. Increases in computing power have enabled simulations to be carried out following these bodies in great detail. At the same time, improvements in telescope technology and sky-coverage have lead to a vast increase in the number of objects known -- as well as the discovery of new populations of objects in the outer reaches of the Solar System. Knowledge of these new populations of bodies is helping us to comprehend the processes by which the planets formed, along with helping to answer a number of old questions about the sources of the comets which have been observed throughout history. Some of the new discoveries were wholly unexpected, and have led to a re-evaluation of the processes which affected our Solar System in its early days. Ongoing work in Bern involves the detailed simulation of the orbits of many new bodies, in an attempt to better understand their behaviour as they move through the planetary system.