Do you remember "Planet 9"? No, I'm not talking about Pluto. That ship has sailed. I am talking about the perhaps somewhat hidden planet that could be lurking at the far end of our Solar System. Scientists have been looking for it for some time and have presented many tests to suggest that something is there, but that remains a mystery. Now, a new theory has emerged that explains the presence of Planet 9 in favor of something completely different.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Jacob Fleisig of the University of Colorado at Boulder presented a new and tempting research. Fleisig, a student of astrophysics, and his team of researchers suggest that perhaps a large singular body is not what is causing the symptoms of Planet 9, but a large grouping of asteroids that are pulling on neighboring bodies.
Many astronomers point to the peculiar movements of bodies in the confines of the Solar System as evidence, or at least evidence, that something else is hiding there. Many well-documented objects seem to move in a way that would only be possible if a large body were exerting gravity on them. The calculations have put the size of the unknown planet at up to ten times the mbad of the Earth, but the Fleisig team is reinventing things.
The researchers calculated the mbad of hundreds of trans-Neptunian objects and discovered that it would not be a stretch for similar bodies to create enough gravitational pull to pull objects as large as dwarf planets in strange orbits. If the theory is correct, it would mean that Planet Nine does not exist, but that there are potentially thousands of small, undetected objects sailing near the edge of our system.
Somehow it is easier to imagine a grouping of large, rocky asteroids than it is to imagine a mbadive invisible planet, but it is far from being a confirmation. Additional research to detect large and small bodies in the Solar System area beyond Neptune could shed more light on the situation. Meanwhile, we still do not know what to expect, and scientists do not seem to agree with that either.