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Mysterious Planet Nine: Did It Tilt The Solar System?

First Posted: Oct 20, 2016 06:30 AM EDT
Planet Nine
Planet Nine, which has been perplexing scientists from the time its existence was suggested, is now being said to be a rogue world that was captured by our star system. (Image used for representation only.)
(Photo : Caltech/Getty Images)

Planet Nine, an undiscovered world which has been intriguing scientists for quite some time, is now said to have tilted the entire solar system as per recent reports. During the initial course of research about Planet X, as the elusive world is also referred to as, astronomers had suggested that it would have a highly tilted orbit compared to the relatively flat, thin zone of the officially eight known planets that orbit the sun.

Incidentally, astronomers revealed the probable existence of an undetected ninth planet in the solar system in January this year. Furthermore, it was suggested that if such a world does exist, then it would be 10 times the size of Earth and orbit the sun at a distance about 500 times greater than the Earth-sun distance.

Now, researchers have forwarded the theory that the mysterious planet could have tilted the whole solar system, barring the sun. The astronomers embarked on their research after they first noticed the influence Planet X had on the tilt of our star system, and subsequently wanted to investigate whether its slant could explain some of the tilting seen in the other parts of the solar system. "Planet Nine may have tilted the other planets over the lifetime of the solar system," said Elizabeth Bailey, study lead author.

The researching team carried out computer simulations that show that the tilt of the eight known planets of our star system could have been influenced by the gravitational pull of Planet X over the past 4.5-billion-years, which is the estimated age of the solar system. However, the astronomers have also suggested that there could also be other probable explanations for the solar system's tilt, one of them being that the electrically charged particles influenced by the magnetic field of the young star could have interacted with the dust and gas disk that originated the planets in a manner that tilted the solar system. Another alternative reason put forward by Bailey is that an imbalance in the nascent sun's core mass could have led to such an occurrence.

"However, all these other ways to explain why the solar system is tilted are really hard to test - they all invoke processes that were possibly present really early in the solar system," Bailey added. "Planet Nine is the first thing that has been proposed to tilt the solar system that does not depend on early conditions, so if we find Planet Nine, we will be able to see if it is the only thing responsible for the tilt, or if anything else may have played a role." 

 

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