The secretive “Planet Nine” may not be a planet: five years or not

BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) — After centuries of observation, man’s understanding of the solar system has been quite detailed. The Earth we live on is a rocky inner planet, and beyond the four inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars), there is a main asteroid belt, followed by two gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn) and two ice giants (Uranus and Neptune), followed by a second asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt, which is made up of a large number of more xiaobing bodies. However, the researchers suspect that the distant outer solar system region , the “home” of the giant planet and its large moons , may have a large, hidden object.

Planet Ninth is one of the possible forms of mysterious matter in the outer solar system.

Astronomers scanned the dark region outside Neptune and managed to capture some of the shimmons. The shimasi is not meaningless, and the researchers have discovered unexpected patterns by predicting the chaotic state of the solar system, the chaotic debris left over from the formation of the solar system. The orbits of some distant objects come together, and the closest point they are to a line is unknown. Many scientists believe that in a few of these patterns, some entities that are not currently visible are playing a role, and there must be more quality.

One mainstream theory is that there is a giant planet on the periphery of the solar system, known as Planet 9, which could be ten times the mass of Earth. It is its existence that makes the orbits of nearby smaller objects extremely irregular. For years, people have been trying to find this hidden object. As the research progresses, different ideas emerge. For example, a large disk of smaller objects may have the same effect. Other researchers have taken a different approach, suggesting that the mysterious object may be a softball-sized black hole. If any of these theories are correct and there are no larger objects, the current telescope search will continue to be in vain. In this case, astronomers must be more patient and perhaps more creative.

One of the challenges of Planet Ninth theory is that, although it explains the orbits of strange objects observed by astronomers, in theory astronomers are not sure how such a giant planet could exist at the outer boundary of the solar system. Like sunlight, the sun’s gravity decreases as distance increases. Therefore, the huge planets forming at the boundary should be taken away by passing stars. Or, if the planet starts near the sun and then drifts outwards, what prevents it from leaving the solar system? If it were a planet, it would be in a very strange position.

Simulation experiments show that the strange cluster orbits of many small objects are obtained without considering planet 9. During the formation of the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn are likely to push large amounts of planetary debris into long elliptical orbits, forming an undiscovered washer-like disk outside Pluto. The researchers believe that the mass of any tiny object in these places should be roughly equal to mathematical and modeling errors, but they may be superimposed.

When moving digital models of the solar system, at some point in the distant past, the disk may briefly become a cone, then loosen it loose to form an “expanded” disk. Two recent papers that have not yet been peer-reviewed show that when the dust in these systems stabilizes, they also exhibit signs of being out of orbit, the same basis for the Ninth Planet hypothesis.

Still, the theory requires a “leap of faith”. If the disk is to completely replace Planet Ninth, it will need 20 Earth-mass materials, the absolute maximum of the remaining debris expected to exist in the solar system.

Another team proposed a smaller disk theory that operates in different mechanisms, which can shape the outer solar system along with Planet 9, reducing the theoretical size of the two.

Whether it’s a perfectly positioned planet, a particularly large disk, or some combination of the two, astrophysicists tend to conclude that there are some unlikely phenomena in the outer solar system. Some researchers have gone further than others about how unlikely they are.

In a 2019 paper, co-authors speculate that the mysterious mass may be a small black hole left over from the formation of the universe. Astronomers have yet to detect such “primitive” black holes, but a study has found circumstantial evidence that “wandering” planets or black holes of mass similar to the ninth planet may be roaming the Milky Way. If the sun can capture stray planets, why not black holes? “It’s a crazy idea, but it’s not an unreasonable idea. “

Making a choice among these not unreasonable ideas is a daunting task for astronomers. Mike Brown, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology who is a strong supporter of Planet Nine’s theory, is leading a study of the hidden object in the hope of a debate in the near future. Not long ago, Mike Brown found a promising point while combing through astronomical data, which he described on social media. Although it turned out to be just a simulation object he injected, it was used to ensure that the search process was effective.

Although Brown is only a joy, the next generation of Vera Rubin Observatory is expected to capture the first images of the area where Planet Ninth is located this year, and may be able to draw a definitive conclusion within the next five years. The telescope can observe more obscure objects, and astronomers hope it will pinpoint planet 9, or help map objects at the inner edge of the disk. Or, if enough new objects can be found to bring the currently observed pattern back into disorder, there is no mystery to be explained.

If all current telescope observations have failed, and the Vera Rubin Observatory has observed these anomalies for years, the original black hole theory might have been more plausible. Edward Witten, a theoretical physicist and pioneer of string theory, recently published a preprinted paper describing the extreme method of finding this hidden object: sending a search team.

Breakthrough Starshot is an ambitious project to one day send nanoprobes to the nearest star. Inspired by this, Witten performed a mathematical operation to suggest that a series of simple detectors could be fired in multiple directions, possibly sending out vibration signals when one of them flew over a black hole. The light-equipped probe will fly at 1% light speed , powered by a powerful laser beam on Earth, reducing the theoretical journey to the black hole to about 10 years. If sensitive enough, these probes can complete a definitive map of the mass of the outer solar system, to see if they are planets, disks or black holes, or all of them.

A recent response article suggested that once the probe leaves the leeward surface of the solar wind, the collision of charged particles could mask the gravitational pull of any black hole. Yet even the ever-imaginative acknowledge that the plan must first overcome some of the more pressing obstacles. The development and construction of the basic launch facility is expected to cost at least $500 million, while the necessary laser and material technology is not yet available. “It’s a super interesting idea, ” says Anvin, “but it carries a premium label.” (Any day)