Hypothetical "ninth planet" may be an accumulation of small objects

On the borders of the solar system may be another undocumented planet. At least, this assumption goes among astronomers. This is indicated by the strange behavior of some trans-Neptunian objects that do not move as it does most of the planets of the system, as well as the bulk of the asteroids, comets and other objects. Something makes the body to change its trajectory. But what?


A possible detection beyond the orbit of large celestial body Pluto, scientists reported in mid-January 2016. Hypothetical object revolves around the sun in an elongated path (and inclined relative to the orbit plane of the Earth) with a period of 15 thousand years, and in their physico-chemical properties reminiscent Neptune.

Of course, the probability of the presence of another object the size of a planet within our solar system could not fail to interest scientists. According to the latter, the ninth planet (no, it's not about Pluto) can be several times larger and denser than Earth's. But not everyone agrees with the notion that we are talking about the planet.

According to the findings of a new study, some features of the behavior of the trans-Neptunian objects can be explained without the presence of the mysterious planet. Paper presented at the 232 th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, does not deny the possibility of a "ninth planet", but at the same time says that the uncharacteristic behavior of objects within the system could be explained by the presence of a large number of compact celestial bodies moving group . Earlier, the "ninth planet" hypothesis critics argued that there was no massive body on the borders of the solar system is not, and the observation of unusual orbits of some objects can be attributed to the inaccuracy of the calculations, or some other random factors.

The new study does not directly support the hypothesis of the existence of the supporters of "ninth planet", but at the same time and does not support its skeptics. According to the University of Colorado researchers, most of the models that are used to monitor the thousands of trans-Neptunian objects, in order to reduce the required computing power does not take into account the mass of these objects. In other words, all of these models is a simplified picture of the actual situation associated with these objects and their interactions with each other and other, more distant objects. Since these objects are not affected by Neptune's gravity (because they are called trans-Neptunian, because they are located outside of its orbit), thanks to its own gravity, they can form clusters.

According to scientists, the existence of such clusters could explain some (but not all) of astronomical phenomena, which are attributed to a hypothetical "ninth planet". For example, this theory can not explain the feature of tilt orbit objects have fallen under the influence. If the "ninth planet" really existed, then this feature would have an explanation. However, the accumulation of objects will not have sufficient gravity to so influence them. According to another hypothesis, the isolation of the orbits of some trans-Neptunian objects could be explained by a collision with an asteroid, rather than the gravitational influence of the hypothetical ninth planet.