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Weird orbits hint ‘Planet Ten’ might exist


Claire.
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Weird orbits hint ‘Planet Ten’ might lurk at solar system edge

The dark outer reaches of our solar system could be hiding a new planet – the ninth or tenth, depending on who’s counting. The as-yet-unconfirmed world, thought to be around the mass of Mars, would explain the wonky orbits of a group of icy objects in a region known as the Kuiper belt.

Read more: New Scientist

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Many of these outer planets and planetoids have very eccentric orbits, often well outside the normal plain of our solar system. As an example, Pluto's orbit is quite eccentric sometimes lying outside Neptune's orbit and sometimes inside it. I wonder if there could be objects orbiting the sun that are so far away that they could be orbiting at nearly right angles to the other known planets, or have retrograde orbits, circling the sun in the opposite direction, being captured wanderers not formed with the rest of the planets. At these distances it is a stroke of luck to "bump into" a planet with any telescope, comparing photographs at intervals. Perhaps the orbital mathematics would be complex as well making it difficult to know where to look?

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On 6/23/2017 at 1:37 PM, Sundew said:

Many of these outer planets and planetoids have very eccentric orbits, often well outside the normal plain of our solar system. As an example, Pluto's orbit is quite eccentric sometimes lying outside Neptune's orbit and sometimes inside it. I wonder if there could be objects orbiting the sun that are so far away that they could be orbiting at nearly right angles to the other known planets, or have retrograde orbits, circling the sun in the opposite direction, being captured wanderers not formed with the rest of the planets. At these distances it is a stroke of luck to "bump into" a planet with any telescope, comparing photographs at intervals. Perhaps the orbital mathematics would be complex as well making it difficult to know where to look?

The inclination of the Kuiper Belt objects, assumed to be affected by the proposed planet, is apparently about 8 degrees from the plane of the solar system. The inclination of the unseen planet would presumably be similar. That's a substantial deviation for a planet at least as massive as Mars. Being 60 AU from the Sun would reduce the efficacy of the gravitational effect that tends to keep nearer-in planets very close to the plane of the ecliptic.   

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On 6/23/2017 at 4:37 PM, Sundew said:

Many of these outer planets and planetoids have very eccentric orbits, often well outside the normal plain of our solar system. As an example, Pluto's orbit is quite eccentric sometimes lying outside Neptune's orbit and sometimes inside it. I wonder if there could be objects orbiting the sun that are so far away that they could be orbiting at nearly right angles to the other known planets, or have retrograde orbits, circling the sun in the opposite direction, being captured wanderers not formed with the rest of the planets. At these distances it is a stroke of luck to "bump into" a planet with any telescope, comparing photographs at intervals. Perhaps the orbital mathematics would be complex as well making it difficult to know where to look?

I always wonder if Neptune and Pluto have every or will ever collide due to the nature of their orbits.

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Wait what? Planet 10?

Last time I checked we were still looking for Planet 9. The Solar System only has eight right now.

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They're counting the other supposed-to-exist planet as the ninth. It's thought to be much larger and more distant than the newly inferred one. Of course one or the other, or both, may not exist at all, but it seems a reasonable possibility that both do, given the evidence.   

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