Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Counter-order, the Nine Planet does not exist

Counter-order, the Nine Planet does not exist

The hypothesis of the existence of a ninth planet was first put forward in 2012, when Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo, two scientists from the Carnegie Institution of Science and Northern Arizona University, discovered several celestial bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune (the so-called trans-Neptunian objects, or Tno), composed mainly of rocks, ice and solid methane.

At the edge of the solar system, small dwarf planets like Sedna move in unusual ways that suggest an unseen ninth planet may be lurking in deep space beyond Neptune, asserting its gravitational pull.

Scientists doubted the existence of Planet X. the Experts believe that beyond the orbit of Neptune celestial bodies the planet's gravity is not affected. The huge number of these trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) makes it computationally intensive to model the evolution of their orbits.

Instead of being tugged on by a giant invisible planet, those Solar System objects could have jostled each other like bumper cars, which has knocked some of them into new orbits - so say researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Ironically, while the new research discounts the need for an undiscovered planet, it requires the presence of thousands of smaller unseen objects. Using the simulations, they had calculated that the orbits of icy objects beyond Neptune circle the sun like the hands of a clock.

The theory was presented to the 232nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Denver, Colorado.

Sedna's eccentric orbit has been cited as evidence that another, larger planet's gravity must be nudging it off-kilter somewhere along its path, and the mysterious Planet Nine is usually assumed to be responsible.

Study suggests Planet Nine might not be responsible for detached objects in the solar system.

In some ways it's easier to imagine a grouping of large, rocky asteroids than it is to imagine a massive unseen planet, but it's far from a confirmation. Modeling such a complex system as the Kuiper Belt is enormously expensive, and past researchers did not add in the masses of as many objects.

"These orbits crash into the bigger body, and what happens is those interactions will change its orbit from an oval shape to a more circular shape", Jacob Fleisig, an undergraduate at CU Boulder and lead author of the study, tells Bennett. But because the largest objects are hurled into the most eccentric orbits, they become more hard to find, the researchers said.

"If there are only 10 out there, and we detected 10, it's bizarrely lucky", she said.

Bizarrely, it might also explain what killed the dinosaurs, The Register reports. What could cause a cyclical rain of death from above? 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".

If the small gravitational interactions among TNOs are hurling objects like Sedna outward, they could also send some of the rocks into the inner solar system.

"It's exciting and suggestive", Madigan said.

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