AUG 10, 2016 10:52 AM PDT

Did Theoretical Planet 9 Tilt the Whole Solar System?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There is currently no proof that a ninth planet exists in our Solar System, but there is circumstantial evidence that suggests the physics are just right for one to exist, somewhere out there.
 

Does Planet 9 exist? Researchers are still trying to figure that out...

 
The strange orbital patterns of Neptune and other outer-most planets are among the key sources of evidence for the existence of what scientists are calling Planet 9, and now, they also say that the large and distant planet may have been the cause of the strange tilt our whole Solar System appears to have.
 
The Sun itself rotates on its axis just like the Earth does, but it rotates on a weird 6º tilt, which scientists say could have been the result of gravitational forces from a large object a very, very long time ago as our Solar System was forming.
 
In addition, the tilt that our Sun has, our planets all seem to orbit on different planes as they go around our star. The interesting physics quandary suggests that something must have yanked on them and threw them off track.
 
The tilted planes can be seen in the following Caltech illustration:
 


 
Planet 9, if it exists, is a weird planet. It has a very abnormal, lobe-shaped orbital path and its alternating long and short gravitational pulls as it moves along that path may have been just enough to tug on the Sun and nearby planets while it gets close and relax as it gets more distant.
 
The hypothesis makes its way to arXiv.org in a study performed by Caltech researchers.
 
“Because we think Planet Nine has a significant inclination, if it exists, then that means it would tilt things,” Caltech researcher Elizabeth Bailey says. “It’s one puzzle piece that seems to fit together, and it really seems to be in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis.”
 
Despite the strong evidence that there may be another large planet out there, 250 times or more the distance from the Earth from the Sun at its furthest point, and 5 to 20 times Earth’s mass, there is still no concrete proof that it’s there. It has not yet been directly observed.
 
So far, everything is merely speculative theory from the facts about our solar system that have been observed.
 
Source: New Scientist, Science Alert

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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