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Rule giving the approximate distances of planets from the Sun. First announced in 1766 by the German Johann Daniel Titius (b. 1729d. 1796), it was popularized, from 1772, by his countryman Johann Elert Bode (b. 1747d. 1826). It may be given as follows: To each number in the sequence 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, and so on, add 4 and divide the result by 10. The answers closely approximate the distances from the Sun, in astronomical units, of the first seven planets. Bode's law also suggested that a planet should be found between Mars and Jupiter, where the asteroid belt was later discovered. Once thought to have some significance regarding the formation of the solar system, it is now regarded as a numerological curiosity.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Bode's law, visit Britannica.com.