A study recently published in The Astronomical Journal has revealed an important discovery: evidence of an Earth-like planet orbiting among millions of icy debris at the far reaches of the solar system. This is the first indication of the existence of the hypothetical Planet Nine. The object that has been searched for in the Kuiper Belt (KPB) since the beginning of the 20th century.
The existence of this planet, which has so far been suggested only through its gravitational influence on the alignment of so-called trans-Neptunian objects (OTNs), was tested by Japanese researchers through N-body simulations, a tool used in astrophysics to test planetary dynamics. Particles under the influence of gravity.
According to the paper’s authors – Patrick Sofia Likoka of Kinddai University and Takashi Ito of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the existence of a “KBP that is 1.5 to 3 times larger than Earth, located at a distance of 250-500 astronomical units (AUs) from the Sun,” was based on “Observable and verifiable signatures of putative planetary disturbances” in many TNO objects.
What is the Kuiper Belt?
Although it contains many objects, the Kuiper Belt has a mass of only 10% of the Earth’s mass.source: Getty Images
The Kuiper Belt is a giant oceanic disk, that is, a vast band of cosmic material surrounding the Sun, outside the orbit of the last planet in the solar system, Neptune. The distance between it and our parent star ranges between 30 astronomical units and about 50 astronomical units. Each of these units represents the average distance between the Earth and the Sun, or about 150 million kilometers.
The stellar disk, also called the Fernandez Belt, in honor of the Uruguayan astronomer who actually discovered it, consists of millions of small icy orbs (TNOs) that are presumed to be debris left over from the formation of the Sun. System. But among them there are some dwarf planets, such as Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris.
Despite its similarity to the famous asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, The Kuiper Belt is different because, in addition to being much larger (20 times wider and up to 200 times more massive)Objects are mostly composed of frozen volatiles (methane, ammonia, water), while asteroids are composed of rocks and metals.
Is the discovered exoplanet really Planet Nine?
Planet Nine will actually be outside the solar system.source: Getty Images
At no point do the authors connect the putative ninth planet of the solar system to the new putative planet (which they prefer to call KBP, the initials of the Kuiper Belt planet). They agree on that too The object will be closer and more influential to orbits outside our planetary system.
Another important note It is worth noting that KBP itself has not yet been officially recognizeddirectly or indirectly in the sky. This needs to be researched further, as according to the authors, there is a 90% chance of detecting it.
Stay up to date with the latest discoveries in science and astronomy here at TecMundo. If you like, take the opportunity to learn how Einstein’s theory denied the existence of the planet Vulcan.
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