Is Melancholia realistic/possible?

Spoilers ahead!

After watching the movie Melancholia, I've been wondering. Is it possible that a planet could have been hiding behind the sun for thousands of years, and suddenly come into sight? Also, what is the likelihood it would cross into our planet's orbit, ultimately colliding with Earth? I understand the movie isn't really about the planet at all, but more about the bold symbolism. Therefore it doesn't matter if it's realistic or not. However, I was just wondering how likely all of the scientific factors in this movie could add up, leading to the Earth's demise.

7 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hiding behind the sun? No. For the concept to work, Melancholia would have to be what is called a "rogue planet", i.e. a planet that formed around another star but got kicked out of its solar system due to gravitational interactions with other planets. Rogue planets do exist, however.

    Still, Melancholia as depicted in the movie is a pretty big world. Astronomers would be able to detect something that big entering the solar system a long way off (not weeks before the collision, but years, if not decades). In addition to noticing it directly, astronomers would notice that something was tugging on the orbits of the other planets. In fact, that's exactly how the planet Neptune was discovered: 19th century astronomers noticed Uranus' orbit was a little off, and correctly concluded that the culprit was another planet further out. No conspiracy would be big enough to hide it.

    Determining a collision might be tricky, because as Melancholia approached, it would affect not only Earth but also the Moon, and both Earth and the Moon would tug back on Melancholia. Trying to predict the gravitational interaction among three or more bodies that large is a notoriously difficult physics problem. If Earth and Melancholia didn't collide, a probable outcome would be Earth's orbit around the Sun being significantly altered as a result, not to mention the earthquakes and tsunamis caused by tidal forces from Melancholia. Bad news either way: to die in a planetary collision, or to freeze to death as Earth is hurled out of the Solar System.

    Source(s): My background in astronomy, astrophysics, and mathematics. Look up "rogue planet" and "three body problem".
  • 4 years ago

    Melancholia is a personal affliction, which is a private affair with yourself. It is not a social condition. Therefore, society as a whole has no room for melancholia. However, within society individuals can use melancholia as a great creative force. If it was not for periods of great sadness, or depressions, then many of the greatest artists or musicians in the world would have nothing to be creative about. As I said at the beginning, society as a whole has no place for group melancholic sessions. However, within societies there are places of isolation for those that seek to explore their dark islands.

  • Silent
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    In addition to the points others have made about gravitational effects on other planets, you have to remember that the Earth's orbit is not circular.

    It is not possible for two planets in the same elliptical orbit to always remain exactly on opposite sides of the Sun — that would require them to move at the same speed, but planets move faster when they are closer to the Sun. Do the math.

    Source(s): Disclaimer: I've never seen this movie.
  • Zarn
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    No, it is not realistic or possible. Even though a planet could be hidden from view by the sun, the gravitational perturbation on other planets would be observable. What you're essentially suggesting is a variation on the Nibiru / Planet X "theory", which has been thoroughly debunked.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 3 years ago

    What Is Melancholia

  • 8 years ago

    Not possible. the planet would have been detected long time ago. Even if you could "hide" the planet itself somehow, you could not hide its gravitational effects on the other planets and celestial bodies in the solar system. Plus, we currently have satellites that can see "behind" the sun (SOHO, STEREO) - no extra planet lurking there.

  • 8 years ago

    No, it's not possible. In order to cross Earth's orbit, it would have to not be in the same orbit as Earth. And, if it's not in the same orbit as Earth, it would be moving either faster or slower than Earth and it would come into view periodically as it passed Earth or as Earth passed it.

    .

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.