Recently, researchers have stumbled upon a cluster of transneptunian objects performing strange orbits near the edge of the Solar System, and they blamed the reputable Planet Nine for it. While this strange phenomenon wasn’t solid enough to work as proof for its existence, researchers managed to find a more plausible explanation for it. It turns out the collective gravity of all objects distorted their orbits and not the gravity of the mysterious planet.
The existence of Planet Nine, debunked again
For about two years, all kinds of theories have surfaced regarding the existence of Planet Nine. This mysterious cosmic body is supposedly about ten times the size of Earth and is hiding somewhere researchers can’t see it. However, the discovery of the transneptunian objects spiced up the hope of finding Planet Nine.
These objects are icy cosmic bodies that perform strange orbits near the edge of the Solar System. The current layout of the system doesn’t explain these orbits, so researchers assumed a gravitational pull from a ninth planet might be to blame. Now, they found a new explanation that removes the Planet Nine hypothesis from the equation.
The transneptunian objects distort each other’s orbits
Researchers have looked at the influence these small transneptunian objects have on each other. This way, they found out their overall gravity put together might influence all the orbits. In other words, they influence their own orbits, so there’s no Planet Nine involved.
The whole purpose of this observation wasn’t to debunk the Planet Nine hypothesis or explain the strange orbits. At first, researchers were just interested in the transneptunian objects and their interaction. To see that, they performed a series of simulations of their movements. This way, they saw what influence they had on each other and thus found an explanation for the orbits.
The smaller objects have a different orbit than the bigger ones. This causes them to crash into each other and deviate the big orbits. All these movements and dynamics influenced each other so, as a result, all these objects appeared as displaced.
Researchers presented these findings during the 232nd edition of the American Astronomical Society meeting.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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