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Current Affairs

Planet nine

Date: 17 December 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

A strange exoplanet, HD106906 b, orbiting a double-star 336 light years away, has provided clues about our own mysterious Planet Nine.

 

Background

Many scientists have prophesied a mysterious planet known as Planet Nine that is responsible for majority of mysterious events in our solar system.

 

Details

  • HD106906 b is not a new discovery: It appears in archival images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2004. But at the time, people did not recognise the object to be a planet. 

  • These predictions arise from the peculiar behaviour and alignment of various objects in the Solar System. Astronomers believe all this is happening under the influence of Planet Nine. 

  • For example, in the outer reaches of the Solar System, beyond Neptune, there is a region called the Kuiper belt, populated by icy debris.

  • Some of the objects in this region have been found to be very peculiarly aligned, and Planet Nine is likely responsible for this.

  • The new planet formed close to the binary star, then kicked out because of gravitational interactions with the star. This stirred up the objects in the debris disc, and disturbed its symmetry with the comet ring. 

 

Planet Nine

Planet Nine is an elusive, distant planet in our own Solar System. Although it has not been found yet, it has been predicted by a series of studies over the last few years. If it exists, Planet Nine is 10 times as massive as Earth.

 

New discovery and Planet nine

  • Both planets reside far out in their respective stellar systems. Both orbit their respective stars at an extreme tilt. And both are massive enough to influence the behaviour of other objects in their respective regions.

  • While Planet Nine is assumed to be 10 times as massive as Earth, HD106906 b is 11 times the mass of Jupiter.

  • HD106906 b is unusually far away from its pair of host stars which is over 730 times the distance that earth is from the sun. That makes its orbit extremely long of about 15,000 years.

 

Exoplanets

An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside the Solar System. The first possible evidence of an exoplanet was noted in 1917, but was not recognized as such. The first confirmation of detection occurred in 1992.