Planet Nine could be a cluster of asteroids sending comets Earth's way
Planet Nine could be a cluster of asteroids sending comets Earth's way
07 June, 2018, 05:11
A new theory presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society contends that the detached objects interact like bumper cars, creating the odd movements that appear to defy what we can see in the solar system so far. "We can solve a lot of these problems by just taking into account that question". Sedna circles the sun at a distance of almost 8 billion miles and doesn't even come near solar system's giant planets.
Experts at the University of Colorado designed the space and found that a small celestial body, such as asteroids, their orbits move much faster from more objects like Sedna. This minor planet orbits Earth's sun at a distance of 8 billion miles but appears separated from the rest of the solar system. How they got to the outer solar system on their own is an ongoing mystery.
Bodies in the extreme outer solar system that never come close enough to the Sun to be affected any any significant manner by the gravity of Neptune and the other major planets are known as "detached objects".
According to CU Boulder, the team looked at one of these objects in particular - a dwarf planet called Sedna, which orbits the sun at a distance of almost eight billion miles and is distant enough so as not to be affected by Neptune's gravity, the Inquisitr previously reported - and tried to understand why its orbit looks the way it does.
In the latest study, presented this week at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers looked at new models depicting how the massive swarm of objects that make up the Kuiper Belt orbit the sun. Unlike that unique ninth planet, Sedna and other separated large, orbits that bring them no place near huge planets like Jupiter or Neptune. This means that the Kuiper belt objects might not exert enough gravity on each other for the orbital effects observed. As noted by brown and Batygin, astronomers believe their discovery when able to observe the planet through a telescope.
Fleisig ran a computer model for the orbits of these unusual distant objects and uncovered that they move a lot like hands on a clock.
"You see a pileup of the orbits of smaller objects to one side of the sun", says Jacob Fleisig, lead author of the study.
She added: "The picture we have in our head is a lot of little moons floating around the solar system, interacting with comets".
"These orbits crash into the bigger body, and what happens is those interaction will change its orbit from an oval shape to a more circular shape".
"Planet Nine explains this really well, and we do not", Madigan said. As Madison tells Redd, it's possible that if gravity interactions among objects in the Kuiper Belt can sling minor planets outward, they could also redirect comets toward the inner solar system.
The findings may also provide clues around another phenomenon: the extinction of the dinosaurs. While the researchers couldn't directly connect their observations to the collision that wiped out the dinosaurs and most life on Earth, Fleisig called the possibility "tantalizing".
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