New Planet Lurking in the Shadows of the Kuiper Belt?

James Marshall
June 25, 2017

Will they name it Planet 10, because another proposed planet has already claimed the name of Planet Nine even if it is farther from the solar system? If Planet 10 isn't out there, that means something else is causing the unusual orbits of all the objects in the Kuiper Belt, which might be an even bigger mystery. The bodies that piqued the astronomers' interest dwell in the outer reaches of the Kuiper belt.

The pair expected the orbital plane of these objects to be flat past 50 AU (1 AU = distance between Earth and the sun). About 12 large-orbit bodies have been spotted so far, including the four found by OSSOS.

Though no planet-size objects have been spotted in the Kuiper Belt so far, the researchers are optimistic that the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which is now under construction in Chile, will help find these hidden worlds.

Some critics are questioning the University of Arizona study and the potential 10th planet's presence.

Planet Nine - which scientists think might be 10 times Earth's mass - could be lurking out past Pluto's orbit.

K. Batygin and M. E. Brown Astronom. J.

However, Volk is confident of the findings. While most Kuiper Belt objects still remain too dark for telescopes to study, the more detailed perspective offered by advanced lenses will help scientists make much more accurate projections.

The new LSST telescope that will cover the sky more expansively than the current assessment apparatus, it should discover the objects closely and determine their magnitude. It's possible to account for such biases using statistical methods, but most of the previous surveys didn't report doing so. There is no evidence for clustering in the OSSOS sample when considered alone.... The researchers say "no".

Three of the objects found by OSSOS appeared to be in the two previously identified clusters. Scientific American reported that the astronomical surveys that spotted several celestial objects were not ideal. And the most logical explanation, although the team is careful to offer a few others - a star buzzing our solar system millennia before - is that there's a "planetary mass object", somewhere between the size of Earth and Mars sitting out there.

It has always been believed that at least one, if not several, distant planets orbit our Sun. The data also do not rule out the possibility that the warp could result from more than one planetary mass object. Now researchers from the University of Arizona (UA) have found that if it exists, this so-called Planet Nine might not be alone out there. In other words, something unknown is warping the average orbital plane of the outer solar system.

"We expect each of the KBOs' orbital tilt angle to be at a different orientation, but on average, they will be pointing perpendicular to the plane determined by the sun and the big planets".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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