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Space & Astronomy

Alternative theory of gravity could explain evidence of Planet Nine

By T.K. Randall
October 16, 2023 · Comment icon 7 comments
An extrasolar planet orbiting a distant star.
Perhaps Planet Nine really isn't there at all... Image Credit: NASA / Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)
Orbital inconsistancies indicative of a mysterious hidden planet in our solar system may have an alternative explanation.
Nobody knows exactly where it is, how big it is or if it even exists at all, but when researchers at the California Institute of Technology revealed in 2016 that the existence of a ninth planet in our solar system was a very real possibility, the hunt for this enigmatic new world began in earnest.

Believed to be up to ten times the mass of the Earth and with an orbital period of up to 20,000 years, Planet Nine, if it exists, will be situated somewhere beyond the orbit of Neptune.

As things stand, however, it is looking increasingly unlikely that it is actually out there at all.
Now a new study has cast even further doubt on the possible existence of this mysterious planet by theorizing that the gravitational anomalies indicative of the planet's presence might simply be due to the way gravity behaves under what is known as modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND).

The precise physics involved are complex, but to put it simply - it suggests that the observed gravitational pull on objects in the outer Kuiper Belt may actually be due to the pull of the rest of the Milky Way galaxy than due to the pull of a large, undiscovered planet.

"Regardless of the outcome, this work highlights the potential for the outer solar system to serve as a laboratory for testing gravity and studying fundamental problems of physics," said theoretical physicist and study author Katherine Brown of Hamilton College, New York.

Source: Live Science | Comments (7)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Abramelin 4 months ago
No Nibiru?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Portre 4 months ago
The Anunnaki are going to be so p***ed!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 4 months ago
Another theory! modified Newtonian dynamics. [shakes head] I'd hate to be a physics major these days. So many new theories. Here's MY theory, there is no dark energy/matter. It's all a figment of their imagination
Comment icon #4 Posted by Nicolette 4 months ago
This doesn't add up. If there is evidence of a tug that coincides with a 20,000 year orbit, "the pull of the entire milky way" doesn't fit. The bulk of the pull would only be on the side of the central mass of the galaxy, it would be easy to tell if the peturbance is always on that side. That timeframe doesn't match the sun's rotation or galactic orbit or anything like that. Saying "it's complicated" and not having a way for the theory to actually work... i don't buy it.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 months ago
There isn't direct evidence of any such tug. The evidence is indirect, the orbits of several Kuiper Belt objects are grouped in such a way that one possible explanation is that they have been perturbed by an unknown planet. Secondly the 20,000 year estimate is an upper limit, it could be considerably less than that, if it exists.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Gumball 4 months ago
Is this another one of those things that might not exist based on things we can't prove? Modern science, cannae beat it......I'm being facetious btw.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Electric Scooter 4 months ago
There is an old UK television documentary from the 1990s but it seems the copy I watched has long gone off YouTube. Basically, in the 90s the European Space Agency put a satellite up to measure the strength of gravity at different points across the Earths surface. There are variations from place to place. Originally this was ruled as being due to different density of rock in the core from place to place. The thing is it couldn`t be tested as we cannot drill through the planet measuring the density of rock as we go along.  Then a group of physicists realised what they can test is the rate at ... [More]


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