Earth’s Climate May Have Been Affected By Past Gravitational Pull From Jupiter And Venus, New Study Says

A new study by PNAS suggests that the 450,000-year cycle of gravitational tugs has been occurring for at least 215 million years. 

Artistic depiction of Jupiter and Venus.
M-Gucci / iStock

A new study by PNAS suggests that the 450,000-year cycle of gravitational tugs has been occurring for at least 215 million years. 

Scientists had previously speculated that the gravitational pull from Jupiter and Venus could be affecting the Earth, and now a new study reveals that may be true. As USA Today reported, a new study, published on Tuesday by the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (PNAS), says that Venus and Jupiter’s gravitational pull is affecting the Earth’s climate and life forms. Dennis Kent, a specialist in paleomagnetism at Rutgers University and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is the lead author of the new study.

The study states that, in a 405,000-year cycle, Venus (Earth’s closest planet) and Jupiter’s (the largest planet in the Solar System) gravitational tug slowly affects the climate conditions on Earth. Venus and Jupiter’s combined gravity seemingly causes wobbles in our orbit. These wobbles may cause seasonal shifts on Earth to be more intense; winters are colder, summers are hotter, droughts are drier, and rain seasons are wetter.

Reportedly, we are in the peak of that cycle, and Kent says that the cycle has been occurring for at least 215 million years. As documented by Gizmodo, Dennis Kent released a statement regarding the new study.

“The climate cycles are directly related to how the Earth orbits the sun and slight variations in sunlight reaching Earth lead to climate and ecological changes.”

Picture of planets in our solar system, including Earth, Jupiter, and Venus.
  Narvikk / iStock

He also stated that scientists can now associate the 405,000-year cycle to Earth’s climate, environment, mammals, and the spreading of dinosaurs around the world in a very accurate way. It is important to note that this is still speculation, and that it’s heavily debated in the scientific community. While the timescale study does provide evidence of the recurring climate cycle, it’s still not clear if it impacted life on Earth.

Dennis Kent also stated that this is not high on the list of other factors that can affect climate change. He remarked that the carbon dioxide we’re emitting into the air is still the biggest issue, and it’s something we can measure right now. The planetary cycle is a bit more sensitive.

If you want to take a closer look at one of the awe-inspiring planets in question, Jupiter is about to be shining brighter than ever. Yahoo News reported that on Tuesday, May 8, Jupiter will be directly opposite of the Sun from Earth’s perspective, and it will appear as a bright star to the naked eye.