Science

Sun’s Tilt Might Be Due To Ninth Planet

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 20, 2016 04:39 AM EDT
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Speculation continues about the ninth planet of our solar system. It has not been found yet, but astronomers say that there are various clues pointing to a ninth planet out there. The latest clue that's being said is that the Sun might have its tilt due to the ninth planet.

The ninth planet is said to be large enough to have an effect on the solar system, especially the Sun, according to Science Daily. The ninth planet is also said to be in the area of the Kuiper Belt and has been affecting objects in that area as well. This has been the hypothesis of Caltech's Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown.

The ninth planet would be 10 times the size of the Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the Sun. Its orbit is 30 degrees off from the orbits of the other planets. That is the reason why the Sun and other planets' orbits appear to be at a tilt. The planets orbit at a plane roughly equal to each other yet would be tilted at six degrees to the Sun. This then gives the illusion that the Sun is at a tilt.

"Every time we look carefully we continue to find that Planet Nine explains something about the solar system that had long been a mystery," said Batygin, who is an Assistant Professor of Planetary Science.

This tilt has long remained a mystery for astronomers since the theory is that the solar system formed from a flat planetary disk cloud that slowly began to have the planets form within it, as The Guardian reports. Planet Nine is having an effect on this flat plane because of its angular momentum. This is compounded by the planet's size.

"The search for Planet Nine is as much about understanding the effects of Planet Nine on the solar system, the physics of Planet Nine, as it is understanding where it is," said Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy.

Brown and Batygin came up with the possible location of Planet Nine last January 2016. Their findings were presented at the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting held in Pasadena, California. Elizabeth Bailey, the graduate student from Caltech, is the lead author for the presentation of the study.

"Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly tilt out of alignment," remarked Bailey. Planet Nine is also said to likely cause much chaos to the solar system in the future, as has been reported earlier.

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