In a final season episode of Stargate, they make the earth intangible/phase out to protect from an attack from the Ori. In the movie Justice League: Doom they do the same thing, except to protect from a solar flare.

Would making the earth intangible not screw with the other planets, or the gravity of the earth for that matter?

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    Define your tolerance for "screw up". Nothing is going to go flying out of the solar system, but orbits will be perturbed. Commented May 5, 2012 at 15:58
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    Wouldn't this be better suited for Physics or Astronomy?
    – Iszi
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 16:46
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    @Iszi Astronomy is no more (see When a site grows quiet. Physics would want a definition of intangible. Given that this intangibility is only defined in fictional universes, the question is on-topic here and off-topic on Physics.
    – user56
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 16:50
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    @Gilles - Perhaps it (definition) can be solidified to "What would be the effect of completely removing Earth from the N-body Solar system"? I presume that from gravitational standpoint, "phasing out" amounts to complete removal from the set of forces. I have a sneaky suscpicion that some physicist/astronomer have already run that model - it's too juicy of a fun problem NOT to have been looked at. Commented May 5, 2012 at 19:19
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    @DVK Sure. That would be a different question. From past interactions with Physics mods about similar topics, I gather they would reject this question because making Earth intangible is not necessarily the same as removing Earth.
    – user56
    Commented May 5, 2012 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Yes, it would affect the orbits. The Earth is in an orbital resonance with Venus - actually there are two resonances, with periods of 1,000 years and 50,000 years. The 50,000-year resonance is fairly strong - this means over time the absence of Earth would begin to perturb Venus' orbit.

Earth is also in a minor resonace with Mars and Jupiter but probably this wouldn't affect their orbits significantly.

The moon would have a bigger issue. No Earth means that the Moon would settle into and take over the Earth's orbit.

NOTE: These would take a long time to take effect, over millions of years. So a brief period of intangibility would not affect the other planets. The Moon would still be screwed. Removing Earth's gravity would make it immediately start to drift.

NOTE 2: This assumes that "intangibility" and "phasing" are equivalent to instantaneously removing Earth from the system. Since "intangibility" and "phasing" aren't defined rigorously (if at all) it may be the best we can do.

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    Thanks for your answer. I guess one solution would be if they made the moon intangible as well, although that wasn't mentioned I guess it could be implied.
    – RC Toaster
    Commented May 6, 2012 at 3:17

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