What is the Chaos Theory?

1 Answer
May 23, 2016

From a meteorological stand point it is the theory that we cannot ever predict at 100% accuracy because we can't know all the variables.


It is odd to see this is astrophysics because usually people taking about chaos theory are referring to weather prediction and such. The most common example I see is a butterfly flapping it's wings in Brazil sets of a tornado in Texas. Personally I do like this at all since there simply isn't enough possible variables that A) are too small to measure and B) can cause a large enough effect to create a massive storm capable of making a tornado. I mean people in Chaos theory sometimes have no clue about the massive amount of energy require to make a storm like this. I digress.

The point is Chaos theory is the idea that there are simply too many variables that we cannot measure or we do not know to measure to allow a 100% prediction rate. That being said, this implies that if we knew all the variables that existed and were able to measure them then we could in fact have 10% accuracy of prediction which means that Chaos theory is not a theory about chaos but about extreme order.

This can be applied to many different areas apart from meteorology, and in astrophysics I imagine it could have an impact on prediction of celestial body movements and such.