Mysterious Planet Nine Could Be A 'Rogue' World Captured By The Solar System
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Planet Nine, the mysterious and putative world whose existence was suggested by scientists in January 2016, may be even more exotic than researchers had first believed. A new study suggests that the mysterious world, whose actual presence and location is yet to be detected and which is thought to be hiding somewhere in the Solar System, could be a former rogue planet that was captured by the star system in the past.
According to a study conducted by James Vesper of the New Mexico State University (NMSU) and his mentor Professor Paul Mason, it is quite plausible that Planet Nine was once a world that cruised through space and was not attached to any star. The researching duo carried out computer simulations of 156 encounters between the Solar System and rogue planets of various trajectories and sizes.
The consequent findings suggest that an incoming rogue world would be flung out of the Solar System in 60 percent of the encounters. However, in 40 percent of the cases, the rogue world would end up being captured by our star system. According to a report by Space.com, "This could happen via a soft capture, in which no native planets are ejected, or the invader could boot one or more worlds out as it came in," depending on the rogue's characteristics.
As per Vesper, the putative orbit of Planet Nine is consistent with that of a captured rogue. However, the researcher has also said that the simulation results do not prove anything about the hypothetical planet's origin.
At the moment, Planet Nine's actual presence has not yet been confirmed; however, a lot of theories float around its probable existence. According to Mike Brown of California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, who had forwarded the evidence of existence of Planet Nine along with fellow scientist Konstantin Batygin in January 2016, more evidence about the planet would be found this year.