A survey of the Solar system questioned the ninth planet


2017-06-26 11:00:06




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A survey of the Solar system questioned the ninth planet

Analysis of the four ice bodies in the outer Solar system, did not reveal any indications that they are influenced by a large unseen planet lurking beyond the orbit of Neptune. This fact speaks against a series of evidence, proposed in 2014 on the basis of clustering of objects in the region of the Kuiper belt. The work of astronomers appeared at the end of last week in the arXiv.

These objects were discovered by scientists conducting a survey OSSOS (survey of the outer Solar system the origin) in which we studied the regions of space beyond Neptune.

Using the 3.6-meter telescope Canada-France-Hawaii on Mauna Kea scientists have discovered four bodies that revolve around the Sun in a huge ellipse 250 astronomical units (a. E.). The astronomical unit is equivalent to the distance between the Earth and the Sun; the orbit of Neptune is about 30. E. At the moment, was found about 12 bodies with a large orbit, including 4 found OSSOS.

The Arguments in favor of the ninth planet are based on the aggregation of six previously known targets orbit. Two other research groups showed that these six bodies are organized in two groups. Both teams suggested that the gravity of an invisible planet, which is ten times more Land, builds these objects in interesting shapes.


the Vanishing clusters

Scientists agree that the astronomical survey, which identified six of these bodies, was not ideal, says Cory Shankman, an astronomer at the University of Victoria in Canada, lead author of the latest study. All they had to deal with limited visibility due to bad weather and the fact that the Kuiper belt objects easier to see out of the plane of the milky Way. These factors may cause astronomers to find more bodies in certain regions of the sky than in others, even when the objects are distributed evenly, says Shenkman. You can take into account these differences by using statistical methods, but nobody did, for the most part.

The OSSOS Team argues that the bias could lead to false indications of clustering. "They've been building this argument around the six objects with unknown bias in the discovery process," said astronomer Samantha Lawler of the National research Council of Canada, "and this is a very dangerous game."

Three OSSOS detected object was previously introduced in these two clusters. But when the authors began to consider the fact that the survey had previously found a point of the body located in a certain part of the sky at certain times of the year, data clustering has disappeared, says Shenkman.


it's the ninth planet

Unknown bias in previous surveys, indeed weaken the position of the ninth planet on the proposed dimensions and distances to it, says Renu Malhotra, an astronomer at the University of Arizona in Tucson. But the team OSSOS has not proved that these biases do clean the clustering of distant Kuiper belt objects, so the work does not stop the discussion.

Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie institution for science in Washington and a member of the team that first found signs of the existence of invisible planets, I agree. Even these new data do not explain the strange concentration of Kuiper belt objects — as long as the earth remains the best option.

Even if a previous survey had problems, they still found signs that indicate the possible existence of a massive planet, says Konstantin Batygin, an astronomer at the California Institute of technology in Pasadena and a member of the other team, who put forward the assumption about the existence of a ninth planet.

In addition, clustering — this is only one chain of evidence is the ninth planet. Discoveries of Kuiper belt objects that are not linked to Neptune, and the other with orbits almost perpendicular to the orbits of most objects in the Solar system, the easiest way to explain the presence of a large planet in the outer Solar system.

In Order to solve the issue the ninth planet, need more data from current and future telescopes, says Malhotra. "We are on the verge of technical capacity from the outer Solar system. So far we have only pushed the boundaries of what you can find."


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