Geek Trivia

What Is Known Informally As “Our Solar System’s Vacuum Cleaner”?

Haley's Comet
The Oort Cloud
Which Planet Was The First To Be Mathematically Predicted Before Direct Observation?

Answer: Jupiter

Many astronomers refer to the planet Jupiter as the vacuum cleaner of our Solar System thanks to its enormous gravitational pull and close proximity to the inner Solar System. Its powerful pull snaps up passing comets, asteroids, and other debris from the Oort cloud.

Although the idea of Jupiter as a sort of Solar System guardian who protects planet Earth from lumbering threats like enormous asteroids has a long tradition in the field of Astronomy, a increasing number of astronomers are challenging this view. They maintain that instead of protecting us by siphoning up renegade objects, Jupiter has such a powerful gravitational pull that it actually draws objects off course and into the inner Solar System (and dangerously close to Earth).