Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Collective gravity, not Planet Nine, may explain the orbits of "detached objects"

Is Planet Nine actually there at all? More Is Planet Nine actually there at all? More
Sandy Nunez | 07 June, 2018, 03:31

Ann-Marie Madigan, an assistant professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), says that the Kupier Belt is a lot more dynamic than we imagine.

In the years since, more evidence of a ninth planet has turned up in the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects and the wobble of the Sun, while other astronomers have modeled its composition and even floated the idea of a Mars-sized 10th planet.

"We can solve a lot of these problems just by taking into account that question". Some of the larger TNOs, including Sedna, are considered "detached objects", meaning they do not have a strong gravitational interaction with Neptune or any other body in the solar system. The rest of the objects in the solar system, however, are pulled into elliptical orbits by the gravity of giant planets like Jupiter and Neptune. Possible separate object is Sedna, the perihelion of which is two times beyond the orbit of the eighth planet.

To review: The primary evidence for the existence of Planet 9 is the large number of TNOs with highly unusual orbits within our solar system.

Dwarf planets like Sedna, reports Cnet, have odd orbits around the Sun and one of the reasons for this could be a yet-to-be-seen ninth planet that is large enough, or with enough mass to exert gravitational tugs on them.

This research was supported by NASA Solar System Workings and the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium Summit Supercomputer. This explains the oddball behavior of Sedna, which is a little smaller than Pluto but follows a massive, circular orbital path to circumnavigate the sun, just like other detached objects.

But instead, undergraduate astrophysics student Jacob Fleisig helped Dr Madigan envision all the different bodies outside the solar system chaotically crashing into one another.

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An artist's impression of the dwarf planet Sedna, some 12.9 billion kilometres (8 billion miles) from the sun, along with a hypothetical moon.

Repeated interaction cycles among large and small TNOs may be responsible for pushing comets into the inner solar system on regular timescales.

The researchers presented their findings today at a press briefing at the 232nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which runs from June 3-7 in Denver.

According to the researchers' simulations, the TNOs move like hands on a clock, with the most massive objects moving slowly, like the hour hand, and the smaller ones ticking along quickly, like the minute hand. "The smaller ones move faster than the larger ones; when the bodies crash, the orbits change in shape and orientation due to these small-scale interactions ".

"Planet Nine explains this really well, and we do not", Madigan said. "While we're not able to say that this pattern killed the dinosaurs", Fleisig added, "it's tantalizing".

It's not impossible one of these caused the collision which wiped out the dinosaurs, the researchers said.

Well, as it turns out, the new theory that axes Planet Nine might also be tied to the dinosaur extinction.