Something massive is located at the outer boundaries of the Solar System
Astronomers already far not the first suspect, or at least suggest the presence of one, and perhaps once and more remote planets, turns around the sun. However, our ground-based telescopes can not see these objects through a dense ring of dust and rocks surrounding the internal borders of our system. This ring has an official name - the Kuiper Belt.
The results of the new observations, published in the latest issue of Astronomical Journal, they say that on the boundaries of the solar system can "drift unknown and so far unseen planetary mass object." This mysterious celestial body, the scientists write in the journal, controls feature of the orbits and the behavior of some Kuiper belt objects that remain after the final formation of the solar system.
Apparently, at least judging from the illustration below, consider what really is behind the Kuiper belt, is really difficult.
Astronomers Kate Wolf and Renu Malhotra of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona reported that they were interested in axis tilt feature some Kuiper belt objects, which differs from all other objects in the solar system. According to researchers, the reason for this discrepancy may be a kind of planetary body the size of Mars.
"The only reasonable explanation for the phenomenon of inclination of the axis of observed objects, as shown by our results, could be the presence of a kind of invisible to our eyes of the masses. According to our calculations, that something with the mass of the planet Mars changes the angle of inclination of some Kuiper belt objects ", - says Wolf.
Even if it is a planet, it is invisible to our telescopes due to the strong density of the Kuiper Belt. About its existence the planetary object suggests its impact on the most distant objects belt
To arrive at these conclusions, researchers conducted a cost estimate and analyze the angle of more than 600 objects of the Kuiper Belt.
"Imagine that you have a lot of fast-spinning tops and each of them you give a little momentum - a slight push. If at this moment to photograph them, then in the pictures you can see how their axis of rotation will change slightly, but the average will be directed toward the Earth's gravitational field, "- says Malhotra.
The scientists also had to determine how large to be an object to provide a gravitational influence. According to the result of analysis of numbers the researchers concluded that the size of the planet (if, of course, the planet) is something average between the size of Earth and Mars. In addition, according to the data obtained, the slope of the axis of this object is about 8 degrees, which, in turn, may indicate that the seasonal changes on the surface of the object is not seen. However, researchers have not yet rule out other options. For example, bodies affecting the inclination belt objects axis Kuiper, there may be several. And perhaps those non-existent, and the cause of features of the Kuiper Belt objects may be some inclination took place in the distant past, a strong affinity with our system a wandering star.
Kate Wolf, Renu Malhotra and many other astronomers expect data from the mission Pan-STARRS and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will begin its work in 2022 and will help to finally get an accurate picture of what is going on at the external borders of our solar system. Therefore, the only thing that remains - this is just to wait.