The discovery of a small planet beyond Neptune called into question the "ninth planet"

Since there was a possibility that the Sun's orbit somewhere beyond Neptune can be turned big ninth planet, astronomers were engaged in the search for her. One group is studying the four new moving object, found members of the public to see if they could be a potential new discoveries of the solar system. What is most interesting, the researchers found something that could jeopardize the whole perspective of the existence of the ninth planet.

The discovery of a small planet beyond Neptune called into question the

One of these discoveries was the discovery of a small planet in the outer solar system: 2013 SY99. This small ice world is so distant orbit, which is one long loop transition it takes 20 000 years. We found SY99 using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in a survey of foreign origin of the solar system. A large distance to SY99 means that this small planet is moving very slowly across the sky. Our measurements showed that the orbit of the body is a very elongated ellipse with the closest approximation to the sun 50 AU (1 and e -.. Is the distance from the earth to the sun).

New minor planet winds farther than previously discovered dwarf planets, such as Sedna and 2013 VP113. The long axis of its orbital ellipse is 730 AU. Our observations by other telescopes have shown that SY99 - is a small, reddish world with a diameter of about 250 kilometers.

SY99 - one of the seven famous small worlds that are in orbit beyond Neptune at considerable distances. The way in which these "extreme trans-Neptunian objects" are arranged in their orbits, it is not clear: they are far way are isolated in space. The closest approach to the Sun goes so far beyond Neptune, they are considered "separated" from the powerful gravitational influence of giant planets in our solar system. But in the most distant points, they are still too close to be pushed in a slow stream of the galaxy itself.

The discovery of a small planet beyond Neptune called into question the

It has been suggested that extreme trans-Neptunian objects can be grouped into space by the gravitational influence of the "ninth planet", which rotates much further than Neptune. The attraction of this planet could pull the planets and their orbits are separate, constantly changing their slope. But the existence of this planet is far from proven.

In fact, its existence is based on the orbits of all the six objects that are very faint and difficult to find, even with large telescopes. It's like watching deep into the ocean in search of a certain fish. Fish near the surface will be clearly visible. But on the meter depth everything is vague and unclear. Somewhere at the bottom of the fish are completely invisible. But the presence of the fish at the surface hinders see the fish at the bottom and at the same time does not issue the presence of the latter.

It follows that the opening SY99 can not prove or disprove the existence of the "ninth planet". But computer models show that the nine planets would be an unfriendly neighbor for tiny worlds like SY99: its gravitational influence would have greatly changed the orbit of a planet - completely thrown her out of the solar system, or pushing it into orbit so strongly inclined and long that we had not seen . SY99 can be one of many small worlds that are constantly absorbed and released this planet.

An alternative explanation

It turns out that there are other explanations. Scientists presented for publication in the Astronomical Journal study that touched on this idea of ​​normal physics, as diffusion. This phenomenon often occurs in the ordinary world. Diffusion in fact explains the random movement of a substance from an area of ​​high concentration to an area of ​​low concentration - such as the room bottled perfume. They showed that some form of diffusion can lead to the fact that the orbits of minor planets will change with the ellipse 730 a. e. along the long axis of the ellipse until in 2000 a. ie along the long axis, or more -. and back. In this process, the size of each orbit will vary by a random amount. When SY99 provides an approach for the near distance every 20 000 years, Neptune is often found in other parts of its orbit at the opposite end of the solar system. But when SY99 and Neptune are close, the gravity of Neptune will gently push SY99, slightly changing its speed. When SY99 walks away from the Sun, form its next orbit will be different.

The discovery of a small planet beyond Neptune called into question the

SY99 long axis of the ellipse will change, becoming more or less in the "random walk", as it's called physics. Change the orbit takes place in a truly astronomical timescales. It dissipated in space for tens of millions of years. SY99 long axis of the ellipse could change to hundreds of astronomical units of the history of the solar system in the 4, 5 billion years.

Several other extreme trans-Neptunian objects with orbits smaller also demonstrate diffusion, but on a smaller scale. With one move, and others. It is very likely that the gradual diffusion effects are tens of millions of tiny worlds, rotating at the near edge of the Oort cloud (the scope of icy objects at the edge of the solar system). This gentle impact slowly leads to the fact that some of them accidentally shifted their orbits are closer to us, where we see them as extreme trans-Neptunian objects. And yet, the diffusion can not explain remote orbit of Sedna, the nearest point which is too far away from Neptune, so that he could influence the shape of its orbit. Maybe Sedna acquired its orbit from the passing star long ago. But diffusion could bring extreme trans-Neptunian objects from the inner Oort cloud - without any need for a ninth planet. To know for sure, we will have to try to make more discoveries in this remote region closest to us of space. This will help us our greatest telescopes.