The Mystery behind Planet Nine deepens as astronomers make new discovery
Planet Nine is—still—a hypothetical planet that is believed to have the mass of Neptune with an elliptical orbit 10 times farther from the Sun than Pluto, at a distance of about 400 to 1,500 astronomical units.
According to scientists from Caltech, there most likely is a huge world, a planet whose gravity influences the orbits of distant and glacial worlds, forcing them to take strange routes while orbiting the Sun.
We still haven’t found the world, but astronomers is convinced it’s there.
But can we know if the planet is really there? Is it be bright enough so we can see it?
The theories are tempting, but also circumstantial. Greg Laughlin, a USCS astronomer, gives the planet a 68.3% chance of existing.
“It’s very likely, but not enormously likely. Nor is it like throwing a coin into the air,” he says.
On the other hand, Konstantin Batygin, one of the researchers at Caltech, asserts there is an 83% of chance that this alien world is there. “I’m a little more realistic than Greg,” he says. Other researchers are not sure.
“I have serious doubts about this because I have seen numerous predictions of this type and so far all have been incorrect,” says Alan Stern, a researcher for the New Horizons mission, which sent a spacecraft to Pluto.
“I’m sure they’ll get it right in the end, because I have no doubt about the existence of a large number of planets elsewhere.”
Graphic showing how Planet 9 is disturbing the orbits of the Kuiper Belt Objects. CALTECH/R. HURT (IPAC)
Anyway, whether or not there is a massive alien world beyond the orbit of Neptune is a mystery.
A new study however suggest that the mystery world—if it exists—was not captured by our sun, but formed close to the other planets in our solar system and was eventually banished further out by the sun.
Now, astronomers from the University of Sheffield in the UK and ETH Zürich ran simulations of a variety of scenarios, including those that a free floating planet (FFLOP) was captured by our own star.
Astronomers discovered that the chances of a planet like that being captured by our sun are very low, one in six, at best,
Depending on the initial conditions of the star-forming regions, only 5 – 10 of 10,000 planets are captured onto orbits that lie within the constraints for Planet 9, wrote experts in a study that is yet to be published in a journal, but is already available on arXiv.
In an interview with New Scientist, Mr. Parker said: ‘Even if the sun formed in a very hostile, very dynamic, very violent environment, in one of these densely populated clusters, it’s still unlikely that it captured Planet Nine.’
Ever since astronomers proposed the existence of Planet Nine, the debate has created more questions than answers.
Different studies have yielded different results.
First astronomers found there’s a great chance the planet exists, then they said it doesn’t, then another group of astronomer said it is there.
So what’s going on?
A study made in June of 2016 found that Planet 9 may not exist after all, after astronomers found “controversial” data indicating the world is only there hypothetically.
In July of 2016, only a month after a new study brought Planet Nine back to the red carpet as astronomers found there is enough evidence to suggest the alien world is there, at the edges of our solar system.
Recent studies seem to suggest the alien world really is there.