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Three most likely creation theories for the phantom "Planet Nine"

Three most likely creation the...
Artist's impression of Planet Nine
Artist's impression of Planet Nine
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Artist's impression of Planet Nine
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Artist's impression of Planet Nine

A team of researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has released a paper outlining the probability for each of the three leading theories explaining how the phantom "Planet Nine" could have ended up in its current theorized orbit.

The existence of Planet Nine is predicated on a series of computer simulations ran by a pair of Caltech scientists to explain the trajectory of six Kuiper Belt objects, which may have been sent in to highly eccentric orbits after an encounter with a huge body roughly 10 times the mass of Earth.

The researchers asserted that the planet takes between 10 - 20 thousand years to traverse a single, highly-elliptical orbit, ranging between 40 and140 billion miles from the Sun.

Since this announcement a number of assertions have been made regarding the nature, composition and influence of our phantom neighbor, yet we have little idea as to how (if it exists) the planet could have achieved so unusual an orbit.

The new research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics made use of millions of computer simulations to calculate the likelihood for the three most plausible explanations for the scenic route taken by the phantom planet.

The first, and by far the most probable theory involves a wandering star that most likely formed alongside our Sun barreling past our solar system, and catching the planet in its powerful gravitational pull. This explanation would account for the highly elliptical trajectory of Planet Nine, but only if the body were already in a relatively far-flung orbit at the time of the pass.

This could have been the case if Planet Nine took the form of a gas giant, which, after forming close to our star, was then incrementally nudged into a more distant orbit by the influence of Jupiter and Saturn. It is also possible that the planet could have formed in a distant orbit in the disk of gas left over from the creation of our solar system, in which case it would likely bear a striking resemblance to Pluto.

Even though this is the most likely explanation offered to date the computer simulations run by the researchers only place the probability of a star being on the cause of Planet Nine's elongated orbit at around 10 percent.

The final two theories considered by the researchers suggested that Planet Nine was either a body captured from another passing solar system, or a rogue planet snared by the gravitational pull of our star. Computer modeling placed the likelihood of either origin story below the two percent threshold, leaving the orbit of our mysterious neighbor a matter of hot debate.

Source:Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

3 comments
3 comments
noteugene
Sorry but planet 9 is already taken. It's only the liberal scientist who think otherwise. You can keep repeating your mantra but beloved Pluto stays.
Charles Barnard
Given the absurdly high number of rogue planets we have discovered, and the fact that we have observed many stellar systems interpenetrate and pass nearby each other, any of these is possible.
No one has yet explained observations by ancient Egyptians of Venus "coming out of Jupiter," high in the sky before moving to it's current orbit (and don't think they didn't know their astronomical objects--they knew them far better than the vast majority of civilized people today, because they depended upon that knowledge to plant crops and live,) there is much unexplained.
Astronomers tend to put the emphasis upon gravitational force, and discounted static electrical forces for generations. Despite the fact that electrical forces are many times stronger than gravity. (Don't believe it? Run a plastic comb through your hair and see how rapidly it picks up small bits of paper against the pull of the entire Earth's gravity!)
Immanuel Velikovsky (an amature historian) wrote about such things in the 1950's and was soundly booed by the scientific community--but over the time since then, much of what he theorized has quietly become accepted fact.
Current modeling of rogue planet formation (done to explain the preponderance of rogues sailing between stars,) shows that orbital dynamics of a multiple large body system tends to throw at least one of the larger planets out of a forming planetary system.
We have also some evidence that solar wind can create electrical charges on orbiting bodies--they are, after all, in vacuum....
Tanstar
So, the top 3 theories only account for 14% chance of being correct? Are their dozens of other theories, all given a % chance, or is the 84% "something else we haven't thought of yet"?