A team of scientists had revealed that Planet Nine might exist 10 times farther from our Sun than Pluto. Now another research has come up that has denied all the speculations of the existence of Planet Nine.
Earlier this year, scientists said that a Neptune-mass planet could be elliptically orbiting the Sun which raised eyebrows of many scientists. However, researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have studied nearly all the cases and found very low probability of existence of such a planet at such far distance.
“The evidence points to Planet Nine existing, but we can’t explain for certain how it was produced,” says lead study author and CfA astronomer Gongjie Li.
The average distance between Earth and Sun is around 93 million miles. While Planet Nine has very elliptical orbit with the nearest point being at 40 billion miles while farthest being at 140 billion miles. The major question that arises: did it form there, or did it form elsewhere and land in its unusual orbit later?
Researchers took the help of computer simulation and conducted millions of tests to explore three possible cases. In the first case, a star could have pulled the Planet Nine in the outward direction which might also be the reason behind highly elliptical orbit. However, scientists believe that interpolating star would have thrown the planet out of our Solar System instead of just drifting it till the edge.
Another possible case was that the Planet Nine might have formed in the wider orbit. “The simplest solution is for the solar system to make an extra gas giant,” says CfA astronomer Scott Kenyon.
“Think of it like pushing a kid on a swing. If you give them a shove at the right time, over and over, they’ll go higher and higher,” explains Kenyon. “Then the challenge becomes not shoving the planet so much that you eject it from the solar system.”
Another possibility was that the Planet Nine is an exoplanet that got stuck in our Solar System during the passing of a star system. However, chances of this case are less than 2 percent.
Thus, scientists concluded that no such Planet Nine occurs.
The study appeared in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.