Scientists suspect that a giant planet is hiding in the most remote parts of the solar system. This colossal planet exerts its gravitational force on trans-Neptunian objects and even on interstellar objects that pass through the solar system, according to a new study.
Presumably, there is an undiscovered planet beyond the orbit of Pluto. This hypothetical world is about five times the size of the Earth and revolves around the Sun in a very elongated elliptical orbit.
So far, the planet exists only in theory, since no convincing evidence of its existence has yet been found. However, scientists say the interstellar object CNEOS 14, which collided with our planet in 2014, could provide definitive evidence for the existence of Planet Nine.
In 2014, the object fell into the Pacific Ocean and was identified by Harvard astrophysicist Abi Loeb and his student Amir Siraj using NASA data.
Professor Loeb explains that this object is of great importance, and therefore he organized an expedition hoping to find fragments of a celestial body at the bottom of the ocean. A small interstellar object believed to be no more than one meter across was moving through the solar system at a speed of 60 kilometers per second.
The too-high speed of the object led experts to suspect that he got to us from a distant star system. To find out, scientists will have to take into account the moment that the object accelerated with the help of the gravity of one of the planets of the solar system.
They can do this by reconstructing its trajectory and making sure it hasn’t passed close to any known planet in the solar system.
What if the curious object actually interacted with a planet in the solar system. With a planet we still haven’t found, maybe Planet Nine?
This is exactly what researchers Hector Socas-Navarro and Ignacio Trujillo Cabrera from the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics asked about. To unravel this mystery, they ran several simulations reconstructing the object’s path through the solar system.
They were surprised to find that there is either something completely strange about interstellar objects that we don’t know about, or that there is a 99.9% chance that a massive planet exists in the outermost regions of the solar system.
Based on their calculations, the researchers believe that the object known as CNEOS14 was swerved toward us by a giant unknown object in the outer solar system, possibly the hypothetical Planet Nine, some 30 to 60 years ago.
Researcher Trujillo Cabrera explains that if their calculations are correct, then they could discover where Planet Nine is hiding by tracing CNEOS14’s trajectory.
Based on their calculations, the mysterious planet must be very close to the area in the sky where the constellations of Aries, Taurus and Cetus meet. However, at the moment, scientists are cautious in their conclusions and clarify that this is still only a hypothesis.
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