Distant space rocks will help to discover a planet that has not yet been found, which is located on the outskirts of the solar system
Over the past few years, there has been mounting evidence that the mysterious Planet Nine does orbit the sun somewhere on the edge of the solar system. Scientists believe that it is larger than the Earth and most likely dark and does not reflect light. A new study by Chinese scientists suggests an unusual way to detect it, and it consists in looking for the satellites of this planet, writes ScienceAlert.
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The existence of the Ninth Planet somewhere on the outskirts of our star system is indicated by the unusual orbits of some objects in the Kuiper belt – this is a region in the outer solar system filled with a huge number of asteroids and other objects that begins beyond Neptune. By the way, here is the largest object of this belt – the dwarf planet Pluto, which until 2006 was the ninth planet of the solar system. Focus has already written in detail about why Pluto is so interested in scientists and how it differs from other planets. Scientists believe that it was the gravitational influence of an as yet unknown planet that led to the formation of unusual orbits for some celestial bodies in the Kuiper belt.
According to modern estimates, the Ninth planet is 5-10 times larger than the Earth, and is 400-800 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. Until now, the search for this mysterious object has not been successful. Scientists believe that the reason may be that it is a dark planet that does not reflect light, or the reason is that it is not so large and too far from us, and therefore its light is not visible. But astronomer Man Ho Chang of the Normal University of Hong Kong, China, thinks Planet Nine is all detectable. And the satellites of this planet will help in this.
All planets in the solar system, except for Mercury and Venus, have satellites. Even some dwarf planets and asteroids also have satellites. The planets of the outer solar system in most cases attracted these objects to themselves with the help of gravitational influence. Focus has already written that astronomers have discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter , and so far this planet holds the record for the number of these objects in the solar system, having overtaken Saturn.
As for the Kuiper belt, there is a huge number of different celestial bodies and, according to Chan’s theory, some of them could be attracted to the Ninth Planet. Scientists suggest that this planet should have captured from space about 20 satellites, each of which has an average width of 140 km.
These space rocks themselves are very difficult to detect, but gravitational interaction with the planet could reveal their presence. Basically, satellites that have been captured by the planet have elliptical orbits. This means that the influence of the planet on these satellites changes as they approach and move away from the planet.
It is this influence of the planet that contributes to the heating of the satellites from the inside, and they emit thermal radio emission, which can be detected using radio telescopes. That is, if the Ninth Planet is really a dark object, then its satellites will make it possible to detect it. According to Chan, we need to start searching for these satellites, which will point the way to the Ninth planet.
At the beginning of last year, scientists discovered a mysterious object beyond Neptune, and as Focus already wrote , with its help, astronomers hoped to find the Ninth Planet.
Focus also wrote that scientists put forward their assumptions about how exactly you can fly to the Ninth planet .