Bode's law

[ bohdz-law ]
/ ˈboʊdz ˈlɔ /
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noun Astronomy.

a numerical scheme that gives the approximate distance from the sun of the seven planets closest to the sun (Mercury through Uranus) but fails for Neptune and Pluto, which are further away.



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Also called Tit·i·us-Bode law [tit-ee-uhs-bohd-law] /ˈtɪt i əsˈboʊd ˈlɔ/ .

Origin of Bode's law

First recorded in 1825–35; after Johann E. Bode (1747–1826), German astronomer, though probably first formulated by Johann D. Titius (Tietz), German astronomer (1729–96)

Words nearby Bode's law

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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British Dictionary definitions for Bode's law

Bode's law
/ (bəʊdz) /


astronomy an empirical rule relating the distances of the planets from the sun, based on the numerical sequence 0, 3, 6, 12, 24,…. Adding 4 to each number and dividing by 10 gives the sequence 0.4, 0.7, 1, 1.6, 2.8,…, which is a reasonable representation of distances in astronomical units for most planets if the minor planets are counted as a single entity at 2.8

Word Origin for Bode's law

named after Johann Elert Bode (1747–1826), who in 1772 published the law, formulated by Johann Titius in 1766
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012