Approximately a year ago astronomers have announced the existence of planet nine in our solar system. Contrary to expectations there exists no evidence which attests the existence of this planet. Nevertheless, this did not stop scientists from making all sorts of speculations. Some may say that the planet is hiding in the desert of our solar system.
But this week, during the American Astronomical Science meeting, new simulations revealed that this new planet might have been a rogue planet in the past which was attracted by our sun. If this world actually exists, specialists expect it to be about ten times the size of our planet and approximately a thousand times farther from our sun.
Specialists tried to compare it to Pluto and its distance from the sun compared to our planet. Pluto is known to be forty times farther than Earth. Apparently, this newly discovered planet is an outlier. Nobody can yet explain how it managed to get so far away in our solar system.
Some may believe that planet nine might have just formed out there in the middle of nothingness. Nevertheless, Mike Brown, an astronomer, together with Konstantin Batygin, an astrophysicist at Caltech, has analyzed the situation and has a different opinion. Based on their new theory, this ninth planet may have formed somewhere near the sun, like all the other planets from our solar system.
But considering the idea that the space around the sun was crowded, planet nine got to be repressed far away. Another astonishing theory states that we might have engulfed it in our solar system when the planet was drifting away in space, without a star to orbit. Thus, the gravity of our solar system captured it.
Paul Mason and James Vesper from New Mexico State University have simulated what exactly would happen if planets of different sizes and with distinct trajectories may ever reach our solar system. They have conducted about 156 simulations, revealing that approximately 60% of the time, the rogue planet would have been absorbed in our solar system by its gravity.
What is more, the simulations have shown that this planet would have attracted another planet with it. However, the rest of 40% of the time, the rogue planet was drawn inside the solar system and remained in orbit.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia