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Hypothetical Planet Nine Might Be Closer To Us Than Previously Thought

Hypothetical Planet Nine Might Be Closer To Us Than Previously Thought 86

Three years ago astronomers proposed the existence of a ninth planet in the Solar System. The planet is supposed to orbit further out than anything we have yet seen within our Solar System, but according to the most recent model, if it exists it is closer to us than originally thought. And a bit smaller too.

The model is discussed in an invited review article for Physics Reports. The original proposers of Planet Nine, Caltech’s Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, together with Fred Adams and Juliette Becker from the University of Michigan, have provided an update on what they think Planet Nine might be like. They now expect it to be about five times the mass of Earth with an orbit whose semi-major axis is around 400 times the Earth-Sun distance.

The idea that Planet Nine existed was put forward to explain the curious orbital clustering of small objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. Since then, the presence of this unseen planet has been used to explain several different phenomena. Observational campaigns have tried to discover the object, but so far, they’ve had no success.

“The presence of Planet Nine would beautifully and coherently answer several seemingly unrelated open questions about the Solar System,” Becker, who’s a graduate researcher, said in a statement. “I look forward to the day we either see it or rule it out so that we can conclusively answer these questions.”

Brown and Batygin recently published another study about the orbital clustering and Planet Nine. They worked out a way to quantify potential bias in individual observations. The idea is that maybe the clustering we see is to do with other factors. They estimate that the probability that Planet Nine is not there is around one in 500.

“Although this analysis does not say anything directly about whether Planet Nine is there, it does indicate that the hypothesis rests upon a solid foundation,” Brown stated.

Thanks to improved telescope sensitivity and more sky surveys, researchers optimistically think that in the next 10 to 15 years we will be able to either observe Planet Nine or have enough data to rule it out.

“With its proposed properties, Planet Nine is right on the edge of being observable,” explained Adams. “But this is a very dim object in a very big sky. Since we don’t know exactly where it is, you have to survey the whole sky, or at least large portions of it, in order to find the planet.”

The hunt for this possible world continues.

Orbits of the distant Kuiper belt and Planet Nine. Orbits rendered in purple are primarily controlled by Planet Nine’s gravity and exhibit tight orbital clustering. Green orbits, on the other hand, are strongly coupled to Neptune, and exhibit a broader orbital dispersion. Updated orbital calculations suggest that Planet Nine is an approximately 5-Earth-mass planet that resides on a mildly eccentric orbit with a period of about 10,000 years. Image credit: James Tuttle Keane/Caltech

Orbits of the distant Kuiper belt and Planet Nine. Orbits rendered in purple are primarily controlled by Planet Nine’s gravity and exhibit tight orbital clustering. Green orbits, on the other hand, are strongly coupled to Neptune, and exhibit a broader orbital dispersion. Updated orbital calculations suggest that Planet Nine is an approximately 5-Earth-mass planet that resides on a mildly eccentric orbit with a period of about 10,000 years. Image credit: James Tuttle Keane/Caltech

Alfredo Carpineti
IFL

Space

In December, Earth’s inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon

In December, Earth's inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon 93

At the end of the year, astronomers expect to see a rare cosmic phenomenon dubbed the “Christmas star” in the sky. It will be caused by the fact that Saturn and Jupiter come close to each other at a minimum distance and almost collide to become one super-bright point of light.

These two planets became one straight line in the solar system a few weeks ago, but at the end of December they will be on it for observers from Earth. This will happen on December 21, 2020, on the day of the winter solstice, when the daylight hours are the shortest and the night is the longest. Jupiter and Saturn will look like a “double planet” for the first time since the Middle Ages, Forbes writes.

“The conjunctions of the two planets are extremely rare, but this particular conjunction is especially rare because the planets will be very close to each other,” Patrick Hartigan, astronomer at Rice University, USA said. “In order to observe a closer conjunction of these planets in the night sky, we would have to return on March 4, 1226.”

It is noted that the unusual celestial phenomenon can be observed from anywhere on the planet. The main thing is that the sky is clear. The “Christmas Star” can be seen in the western sky about an hour after sunset when viewed from the northern hemisphere.

“On the evening of their closest approach, December 21, they will appear as a twin planet, separated by less than 1/5 the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan said. “For most amateur astronomers looking at the night sky through a telescope, both planets and several of their largest satellites will be in the same field of view this evening.”

In December, Earth's inhabitants will be able to see a rare cosmic phenomenon 94

Those who want to see Jupiter and Saturn converge in the sky as close, but will be higher above the horizon, will have to wait until March 15, 2080, Hartigan said. After that, a similar configuration for this planetary pair will not be observed until 2400.

Astronomers are already preparing equipment to analyze in detail the upcoming event. Everything is very serious, because the second such rapprochement between Jupiter and Saturn cannot be expected.

Of course, there will not be a collision of planets. You just get the impression that something terrible is about to happen in the solar system. Astronomers have assured that there is no reason to worry.

Is the “Christmas Star” an omen of things to come? Mark your calendars! 

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Space

A giant asteroid worth $ 17.4 billion is approaching Earth

A giant asteroid worth $ 17.4 billion is approaching Earth 95

NASA announced the imminent flight of a potentially dangerous asteroid will pass the Earth. The website of the Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects says that a celestial body ranging in size from 370 to 820 meters will approach the planet on November 29.

The asteroid, consisting of nickel, iron and cobalt, is approaching the Earth. The cost of minerals in its composition reaches $ 17.4 billion, with reference to the Asterank database, which contains data on 600 thousand asteroids.

The distance between the asteroid 153201 (2000 WO107) and the Earth will be more than 4 million kilometers, the Space Reference specified with reference to NASA data. It is noted that the distance from the Earth to the Moon is 10 times less, and the asteroid is considered dangerous because it crosses the orbit of our planet.

According to the NASA Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects, the celestial body will approach the Earth on November 29. 

It is noted that this time the asteroid does not pose a threat to the planet, however, it belongs to the group of potentially dangerous ones, since its trajectory crosses the Earth’s orbit.

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Space

Intrusive buzzing. The Perseverance rover recorded the space sounds of its flight to Mars

Intrusive buzzing. The Perseverance rover recorded the space sounds of its flight to Mars 96

NASA’s new rover is equipped with a microphone to record sounds during landing on the Red Planet.

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is en route to Mars, has recorded its flight to the planet.

The new rover is equipped with a microphone designed to record sound when entering the atmosphere, descent and landing. The device should arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021.

But before the rover reached its destination, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released an audio file recording what the rover “hears” during its interplanetary voyage.

The 60-second recording, posted on SoundCloud, was captured on Oct.19 while checking the rover’s EDL and microphone system.

Experts explain that the buzzing sound comes from a pump that pumps fluid to regulate the rover’s temperature.

NASA compares the new hit for your playlist to the noise you hear on wired headphones when the wire rubs against your clothing. It was these mechanical vibrations that the Perseverance microphone picked up.

“Located at the rear of the starboard side of the Perseverance, the pump is part of the unit’s heat system that maintains operating temperatures for the equipment, even in the coldest locations,” JPL said in a statement.

“I apologize to the person who came up with the slogan for the film” Alien “(” No one in space will hear your scream “- ed.), Perhaps no one will hear the scream, but perhaps a pump to remove heat will be heard,” says a leading engineer at JPL Dave Gruel.

He added that the microphone picks up the hum of the pump through mechanical vibration.

The Perseverance rover is supposed to land on Mars on February 18, 2021 in the Jezero crater – it is believed that a riverbed used to pass through this area. This is one of those places where traces of living organisms on the planet could be preserved.

The main mission of the rover is to detect signs of life in order to advance the study of the ancient history of Mars. In addition, the device will become part of a mission to deliver samples from the surface of the red planet: it will dig out rock at certain points, and then another device will pick them up, which will send them to Earth.

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