Caltech: Planet 9 from outer space responsible for ‘curious tilt of the sun’

Curious Tilt of the Sun Traced to Undiscovered Planet

Planet Nine—the undiscovered planet at the edge of the Solar System that was predicted by the work of Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown in January 2016—appears to be responsible for the unusual tilt of the sun, according to a new study.

The large and distant planet may be adding a wobble to the solar system, giving the appearance that the sun is tilted slightly.

planet_9_art_1_

“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 twist out of alignment,” says Elizabeth Bailey, a graduate student at Caltech and lead author of a study announcing the discovery.

All of the planets orbit in a flat plane with respect to the sun, roughly within a couple degrees of each other. That plane, however, rotates at a six-degree tilt with respect to the sun—giving the appearance that the sun itself is cocked off at an angle. Until now, no one had found a compelling explanation to produce such an effect. “It’s such a deep-rooted mystery and so difficult to explain that people just don’t talk about it,” says Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy.

Brown and Batygin’s discovery of evidence that the sun is orbited by an as-yet-unseen planet—that is about 10 times the size of Earth with an orbit that is about 20 times farther from the sun on average than Neptune’s—changes the physics. Planet Nine, based on their calculations, appears to orbit at about 30 degrees off from the other planets’ orbital plane—in the process, influencing the orbit of a large population of objects in the Kuiper Belt, which is how Brown and Batygin came to suspect a planet existed there in the first place.

The six most distant known objects in the solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Such an orbital alignment can only be maintained by some outside force—like a planet with 10 times the mass of Earth. CALTECH/R. HURT (IPAC)

The six most distant known objects in the solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Such an orbital alignment can only be maintained by some outside force—like a planet with 10 times the mass of Earth. CALTECH/R. HURT (IPAC)

“It continues to amaze us; every time we look carefully we continue to find that Planet Nine explains something about the solar system that had long been a mystery,” says Batygin, an assistant professor of planetary science.

Their findings have been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal, and will be presented on October 18 at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences annual meeting, held in Pasadena.

The tilt of the solar system’s orbital plane has long befuddled astronomers because of the way the planets formed: as a spinning cloud slowly collapsing first into a disk and then into objects orbiting a central star.

Planet Nine’s angular momentum is having an outsized impact on the solar system based on its location and size. A planet’s angular momentum equals the mass of an object multiplied by its distance from the sun, and corresponds with the force that the planet exerts on the overall system’s spin. Because the other planets in the solar system all exist along a flat plane, their angular momentum works to keep the whole disk spinning smoothly.

Planet Nine’s unusual orbit, however, adds a multi-billion-year wobble to that system. Mathematically, given the hypothesized size and distance of Planet Nine, a six-degree tilt fits perfectly, Brown says.

The next question, then, is how did Planet Nine achieve its unusual orbit? Though that remains to be determined, Batygin suggests that the planet may have been ejected from the neighborhood of the gas giants by Jupiter, or perhaps may have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other stellar bodies in the solar system’s extreme past.

For now, Brown and Batygin continue to work with colleagues throughout the world to search the night sky for signs of Planet Nine along the path they predicted in January. That search, Brown says, may take three years or more.

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126 thoughts on “Caltech: Planet 9 from outer space responsible for ‘curious tilt of the sun’

    • Yes it can. The large planets affect sun spot cycles, and going upstream to the sources, these large planets are creating various periodicites of temperature cycles we see in climate. It is entirely possible going back to all the major planet ranges and perhaps angles to earth create all the observed climate periods we see, very long cycles from very long orbital periodicites of big planets. At certain times, they may coincide by summing or negating sun radiance we receive. Ice Ages suddenly showing up unexpectedly anyone?

      • However, it appears to me to be little than another hypothesis.

        It may well be that the mass, distance and orbit of such a body may be consistant with this “curious tilt of the sun” but it may not be the only explanation.

        This is similar to the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis.

        It is unlikely that this hypothesis is true or better than the null hypothesis,( Global warming is natural), because, not only have we had historical warmings of greater magnitude when anthropgenic CO2 could not be a factor, but projections of further warming currently being compared with observed (empirical) data are proving wildly inaccurate.

        Similarly the “curious tilt of the sun” may fit the criteria provided by this “9th planet” but some empirical data would be useful.

        The best data I can think of is to view this planet and calculate its orbit.

        Go for it Brown and Batygin, hope your 3 years will not be wasted.

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

    • Now we see the real reason for demotion of Pluto.

      Astronomers has spent so much time ridiculing the idea of there being a tenth planet ( planet X ) that they could not suddenly say: Oh well actually we think there may well be one, sorry., we were wrong.

      Having demoted Pluto they can now rediscover the 9th planet and silently hope that no one sees the pivot.

      • Having demoted Pluto they can now rediscover the 9th planet and silently hope that no one sees the pivot.

        The real reason they do not discuss Planet X,
        The Planet Formerly Known As Pluto
        is that they cannot find it now. It has left its orbit.
        It’s coming for us.

      • Greg @ 4:29

        Exactly…let’s not forget this same Mike Brown wrote “How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming” in 2010.

        Hopefully now that the amazing New Horizons results are in they might once again make Pluto the 9th planet…Mike can still have his planet if he wants (as long as he finds it, that is).

  1. I remember 35 years ago, when being taught orbital mechanics, and calculating planetary positions, that it was assumed there was an unknown body in the outer solar system perturbing the orbits of the outer planets.

  2. Find it by next winter?
    Niribu will be clearly visible in the sky before then.

    And they call themselves scientists, pffft!

    • :-) aha! was wondering who would do the first Nibiru ref;-)
      now a not religios me DID once read the chapter in the Bible talking of the planet they named Wormwood and its disastrous effects on earth from memory.
      hmm?
      taking it as tales of things past..along with a few other cultures events that seem to be around the same timeframes..hmm?

      • In The Revelation of John 8: 10-11
        The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

        Technically speaking, Nibiru (or Niribu how ever it is spelled) is a planet within the Nemesis system. So, Wormwood would be Nemesis. According to the historical documents found on The YouTube.

        But, to me, wormwood seems like a very big asteroid.

  3. planet’s angular momentum equals the mass of an object multiplied by its distance from the sun

    I’m astonished how little I know. Really velocity not mattered?

    • Robert Perkins
      Content and Media Strategist

      The author is a strategist. I hope that includes a strategy of clear, jargon free communication.

      • Yes, the distance from the sun helps determine the velocity. Generally, the farther from the sun, the slower the velocity. link

      • The average r determines the average v, but how do you get m r v(r) such that v() is a constant that can be dropped? For planets v²r is a constant so v = sqrt (k/r). How little I know!

      • As I recall from high school algebra, the angle of the dangle (x) is necessary to find y (the heat of the meat) provided tht the maxis of the axis (graphing in y=mx+b) and the gravity of the cavity (solving inequalities) remain constant.

    • Actually, the angular momentum relative to the sun is proportional to the product of planetary mass and the square root of the distance from the sun.

      • Stan: yes, that agrees with Hugs’s “For planets v²r is a constant so v = sqrt (k/r)” because then angular momentum = mvr = m sqrt(k/r) r = m sqrt(rk).

        Rich.

    • “I do not think that term means what they think it means”

      Its moment of inertia, “I”, depends on the distribution of its mass from the centroid of interest. Since it is so far away you can ignore the difference between the mass particle on the planet’s near side vs the far side and treat it as a point mass, so I=mr². It’s angular momentum is Iω² where ω is its angular velocity in radians/unit time.

      • Yes, but only if you know the angular momentum.

        Really, all three elements–mass, velocity, and orbital radius–are independent. What everyone is forgetting in this is that the velocity is a vector quantity (described as both magnitude and direction) and the part of velocity that contributes to orbital angular momentum is the component that is perpendicular to the radius vector. An object can be at a certain orbital radius and be in either a circular or an elliptical orbit, depending on its angular momentum. Velocity is not necessarily a constant.

  4. The view that there is another planet is fairly old, with an odd discussion that Greco-Roman mythology should not be used as a basis for naming. “Nemesis” was a proposal, and inplies too much purpose in disturbing the Oort cloud, so “Shiva” was proposed as an multicultural alternative.

    • I’m with various other internet personalities on this one: once we find this alleged planet, it ABSOLUTELY MUST be named “Nibiru,” just so that whole pseudo-scientific hoax-dom will be replaced with all the scientific data of a genuinely real object. When it’s finally well established via the public record of our times (a.k.a., the Google search) that @TheRealNibiru bears no resemblance whatsoever to the doomsday planet the New Agers have been hawking these many decades, they’ll have to find a whole other name to use or else create an entirely different myth out of whole cloth*

      * Not that it stopped them before, one understands, only they’ll have to do it all over again, and won’t that be fun to watch?

  5. Doesn’t this fit with the newest theory on how our solar system formed? That Jupiter fell towards the sun until Saturn and this planet aligned at the right time to fall out into their current orbit and this planet was flung out of normal orbit? I’ve probably got the details wrong on that, but that’s the jist.

    I’ve always wondered, given the age of the universe compared to that of our solar system, could pluto and planet X be remnants from an older solar system?

  6. I love these guys. When their computer model coughed up the possibility a 9th planet, they assumed their model was wrong because there were not sufficient Kuiper Belt objects with eccentric orbits in existence. That’s right, climate scientists, they assumed their model was wrong. But they thought it prudent to check whether there actually were additional unknown eccentric Kuiper Belt objects out there. A search ensued and the objects were there. Thus reality now adds validity to the model.

  7. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” I wonder if it could have been a ‘bad’ planet, expelled from some other solar system for conduct unbecoming a celestial body? And where does this fit in to all those calculations about the planetary influence on solar cycles? Oh, by the way, in Shakespeare’s time ‘philosophy’ was synonymous with ‘science’ because both were the search for truth. We’ve made a lot of progress since then.

    • Philosophy comes from the greek philos and sophia “to love truth”. The Escathological Cargo Cult of the CAGW rejects sophia in its entirety.

  8. Not convinced, gravity pull from such distant planet is much smaller than one from the nearby Venus.
    Solar system oscillates above and below the galactic plane, meaning that the incline could be resultant of the planetary and galactic gravitational forces vectors. Galactic plane is crossed approximately every 35 Myears and it is likely that it is followed by the solar axis’ (inclination) oscillation.

    • Any gravitational tug from the rest of the galaxy woild be very weak. And the crossings mean the direction would alternate. Not likely to explain the sun versus planets 6 degree tilt.

      • Solar system (ecliptic) is inclined by about 60 degrees with respect to the galactic plane, let’s put it another way: since the sun ‘doesn’t care’ about inclination of the ecliptic (else the inclination wouldn’t exist if it did) could it be the case that even the small galactic gravitational pull is tilting the ecliptic?

    • @vukcevic: The issue is not the planet’s alleged pull on Sol. That would be silly, as you point out, and I concur: if Jupiter & the other gas giants haven’t been able to yank the Sun back into alignment, how in Andromeda does “Nibiru” have a chance of pulling Sol OUT of alignment in the first place? (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.)

      Rather, it is the pull of “Planet IX” (ooooh, we could call it “Ix!” ^_^) on the other planets in the solar system which is alleged to have tugged the disk (i.e., the plane described by the average of the orbital planes of the several known planets) ever so slightly out of perfect alignment with the Sun’s plane of rotation. This, I think you will find, is far more plausible than the idea that a planet barely in Neptune’s weight class (and much further away!) should have any appreciable effect upon the plane of rotation of a star.

      • Agree. That’s what I was thinking when I read the article. I was going to be too lazy to write it, so thanks Smokey for getting that done.

        Rich.

      • Possibly, but also while the solar system is orbiting galactic centre of mass it also bobs up and down through the galactic plane (as if it is orbiting another centre of the mass in the galactic arm, I am not aware of the exact cause) with about 70 M years periodicity which is in the middle of the two Milankovic critical ice-ages periodicities of 40 & 100 M years.

  9. The history here is a bit off. The Caltech gang originally set out to disprove a different 2014 paper first postulating Planet 9 based on several odd Oort orbits. The Caltech folks used a larger sample and reached a better based conclusion that the 2014 paper was correct. Published the ‘replication’ 1/2016. This new paper with Bailey provides a second strong line of evidence via the planetary orbit/solar tilt. Planet 9 inferred mass ~10x Earth so ~4x diameter, elliptical orbit at ~30 degree off the planetary orbital plane, with perihelion ~100 AU and apihelion ~1000AU, ~10000 year orbit. Similar to inferences that led to spotting Neptune. What remains is to actually spot such a dim distant object when you don’t know where in its orbit it is. Perhaps Hubble. Perhaps Japan’s Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea.
    Still and all neat new science.

  10. Maybe they should turn the voyager cameras back on and have a peek:or send out one of the tiny probes to see if it crashes into something big :) I would love to see more exploration of our heliosphere. The voyagers have already provided some interesting, challenging data it would be better to build on that than to theorize forever.

  11. I claim this planet in the name of Mars. Isn’t that lovely? Hmmm? Now step back while I cause some global warming with my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

  12. “The next question, then, is how did Planet Nine achieve its unusual orbit?”

    Jumping the sharks. Haven’t discover the planet yet or it exist

    • Has anyone seen anything of this Planet 9 yet?

      Yes.
      Hillary.
      (I think had a cameo in “Men in Black”. If not, she should have.)

  13. One query: They say “Mathematically, given the hypothesized size and distance of Planet Nine, a six-degree tilt fits perfectly“. Wasn’t the process the other way round? ie, didn’t they calculate the size and distance of Planet Nine to explain the six-degree tilt in the first place?

    • @Mike Jonas: Unless that was an un-announced portion of their early research, that’s not how it happened.(*) The parameters for this possible planetary object were absolutely calculated to help explain several other aspects of KBO/dwarf planet motion, however the tilt of the known planets’ orbits was not addressed until now, at least as I understand it.

      (*)Follow the link Anthony provided in the article for more information on their original work: http://www.caltech.edu/news/caltech-researchers-find-evidence-real-ninth-planet-49523

  14. I can’t put this any other way without being banned here for ages and ages (they’re fkn worse than “safe spacers” lol) It’s Uranus, the planet is more dense and has a heavier physical planetary structure and it is NOT only a “gas giant”… let that sink in for a few years, enjoy!

    • Maybe the common belief is that Uranus is a place where the sun don’t shine.
      Being a “gas giant” should not be a bragging point about Uranus.
      There is nothing wrong with being a “safe spacer” around a ” gas giant”, particularly one with heavier physical structure.

      (hope somebody got a laff)

  15. They are going to have to find it otherwise is it just a speculation.

    The gravity models can not be accurate enough when you need to insert 200 billion stars and 200 billion stars worth of other matter and 1 trillion stars worth of dark matter in the Milky Way as well allowing for the fact that the gravity impact of all that only travels at the speed of light. ie. the stars on the far side of the galaxy are exerting a gravity effect as if their position was where it was 100,000 years ago.

    The galaxy would not exist if all this other matter did not impact the gravitational forces here in our solar system so one can not say it is too small to take into account.

    • So are you troubleshooting correctly by throwing in the whole theoretical universe on top of a simple solar axial tilt of a terrestrial nature?

  16. Planet 9 from outer space responsible for ‘curious tilt of the sun’

    I sure as heck hope it is from “outer space”, even Al Gore’s body isn’t big enough to keep it in “inner space”.

  17. Could the odd orbit of this theoretical planet be from a collision with a smaller planet, which left the Oort cloud in its place?
    (Just pondering. Don’t have much background)

    • The Kuiper Belt is about 30 to 50 AU. The spherical Outer Oort Cloud extends from 20,000 to 50,000 AU and possibly beyond. The inner, torus-shaped Inner Oort Cloud is about 2,000–20,000 AU. Planet IX’s orbit is estimated as an ellipse 100 AU from the sun at perihelion to 1000 AU aphelion. Is it possible that Planet IX has swept the relatively empty area between the Kuiper Belt and the Inner Oort Cloud (from 50 AU to 2,000 AU)?

      • @jorgekafkazar, inter alia: It is plausible, but not certain by any means. Part of the issue is that we haven’t found “Nibiru” yet; another part is that we have almost no observations of Oort Cloud objects in situ with which to validate the existence/extent of that structure. In other words, the Oort Cloud exists at this point in time as a largely theoretical structure only… which is to be expected from a distant area which is (hypothetically) only thinly scattered with very dark, very tiny objects.

        For some additional astronomical fun, try calculating how far away the proposed outer edge of Sol’s Oort Cloud is. Then, given the “average” nature of our star, suppose that most Sol-like stars have a similar surrounding structure. Further, calculate how far a similar “Oort Cloud edge” would be from other stars in our neighborhood — the Alpha/Beta/Proxima Centauri system, or Bernard’s Star, for instance. Finally, compare those distances with the distances between the parent stars themselves:

        Do any of these hypothetical clouds overlap?
        Are/were the objects in one or more clouds actually closer to other stars than they are to their current “parent” stars?
        What does this suggest about the long-term stability of the Oort Cloud’s structure, or of stellar systems & planetary objects in general?

        Enjoy! ^_^

      • “For some additional astronomical fun, try calculating how far away the proposed outer edge of Sol’s Oort Cloud is. Then, given the “average” nature of our star, suppose that most Sol-like stars have a similar surrounding structure. Further, calculate how far a similar “Oort Cloud edge” would be from other stars in our neighborhood — the Alpha/Beta/Proxima Centauri system, or Bernard’s Star, for instance. Finally, compare those distances with the distances between the parent stars themselves:

        Do any of these hypothetical clouds overlap?”

        I watched a Science Channel tv program just the other day that claims the Sun’s Oort cloud extends half-way to the Alpha Centauri system. The space between the two star systems is filled with objects.

      • Smokey… Interesting… For some additional astronomical fun I did some Google-ing. Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star, 4.25 light years away. That is 268k AU. That isn’t very far is it. Funny thing, Wikipedia says that the Oort cloud is “believed to surround the Sun to as far as somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000 AU (0.8 and 3.2 ly). While the inner Oort cloud is believed to be a disk or toroid, the outer Oort cloud is believed to be a spherical cloud. Clearly, at 200k AU, Proxima Centauri would have significant effects on the cloud. While I know that Proxima Centauri is small, at only 68kAU vs. Sol’s 200k AU, I think it would be the dominant gravitational influence. Maybe I am wrong though, can someone do the math? Where is the transition point.

        What about Alpha Centauri binary pair. The total mass is 2x that of Sol. At only 276k AU, quite clearly the Oort cloud can not extend out to 200k AU in a spherical cloud. Any objects who’s orbit takes it in the direction of Alpha Centauri would be stolen. What is the distance of equal gravitational influence?

      • @Jeff in Calgary:

        It all depends on your starting assumptions, doesn’t it? Despite that, I find much the same thing for most generally accepted ideas regarding stellar/planetary formation & the evolution of our current neighborhood (out to say 20 – 200 ly). For further entertainment, consider that a recent studies suggest that number of stars have passed through our “back yard” neighborhood well within the current distance of the Centauri system in the last few 100 ka to 100 Ma. As a result, it’s difficult for me to imagine discrete, spherical Oort Clouds around each & every star.

        This, again, is not to say I believe the structure doesn’t exist around our Sun or any other specific star(s), only that it’s likely to be quite different than it is currently understood/described. That is to say, each star’s Oort Cloud is quite likely not spherical, not consistently distributed, &/or not solely made up of material from each parent star’s respective formation. Some may be quite dense and others may have been stripped entirely (Barnard’s Star seems a likely candidate for this, given its relative velocity through the local neighborhood). I expect that much of the material in the clouds which do remain has been shuffled quite a bit over the time between Sol’s formation & today, and imagining the planetary disks from long ago becomes quite a chaotic endeavor indeed.

        Isn’t this fun? ^_^

        (Shout out to Kip Hansen & his recent articles on chaos here on WUWT: great work, sir!)

      • I think I may have answered my question. The Centauri system is only nearby for a ‘short time’ (about 100 ka), compared to the orbit of a distant Oort cloud object that takes unto 30 Ma for one orbit. While this object is traveling slow in comparison to Sol, it is moving very fast in comparison to Centauri. The Centauri system only imparts its gravitational effects for a ‘short’ time. Disturbing the orbit, but not able to steal it. This could cause the orbit to be deformed, turn into a comet, or be ejected from our system.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

      • Well spotted on both your posts, Jeff. On the former I would add that there are other stars which have gotten (and will get!) much closer than the Centauris, and the perturbations from those objects are likely much greater as a result… but maybe still not enough to totally dissociate/swap Oort Cloud objects (see links below).

        The time spent by these stellar objects in close proximity to Sol is short on astronomical time scales: plenty long enough to cause objects to change orbits & become long-period comets (on either star intriguingly), but maybe not long enough to actually swap the stars they orbit in a stable sense, at least in most cases. The whole process as it stands is a bit hypothetical (as you accurately put it), so I’m really hopeful to see more evidence, both on the subject of Oort Clouds, as well as on our alleged Planet Ix.

        Further reading:
        Two stars that have been within ~70 kAU in the recent past (cosmologically speaking)…
        1) http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2041-8205/800/1/L17/meta;jsessionid=D54DE645DA168BA9B3D729029D41A924.c5.iopscience.cld.iop.org
        “While the flyby of this system likely caused negligible impact on the flux of long-period comets, the recent discovery of this binary highlights that dynamically important Oort Cloud perturbers may be lurking among nearby stars.”
        2) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asna.201011581/abstract
        “We systematically investigate the encounters between the Sun and neighbouring stars and their effects on cometary orbits in the Oort cloud, including the intrinsic one with the star Gl 710 (HIP 89 825), with some implications to stellar and cometary dynamics.”

        … And one star that we know of which is on its way into our system in the near future (again, by cosmological standards):
        3) http://phys.org/news/2015-01-rogue-star-hip-collision-solar.html
        “The real concern is the effect that the passage of HIP 85605 could have on the Oort Cloud – the massive cloud of icy planetesimals that surrounds the Solar System. Given that it’s [closest approach will be] between 20,000 and 50,000 AU from our Sun, HIP 85605 would actually move through the Oort cloud and cause serious disruption.”

  18. Plan Nine From Outer Space — oops, I mean — Planet Nine From Outer Space.

    Breathless waiting for the movie.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  19. I’d love to repeat this line from the article above, just so everyone is on the same page:
    “All of the planets orbit in a flat plane with respect to the sun, roughly within a couple degrees of each other. That plane, however, rotates at a six-degree tilt with respect to the sun—giving the appearance that the sun itself is cocked off at an angle.

    In other words, it’s not the Sun that’s been knocked off kilter, it’s paths of the VERY much smaller orbiting planets… and even that hasn’t been changed very much, just enough that it’s been a sincere annoyance to those studying the formation & origins of our system. ^_^

    It’ll be nice if we can actually find the planet, though, for real….

  20. Roughly every odd 40 years someone tries to convince the rest of us that there “must” be a nineth (or as in about 1975, a tenth) planet because else the observations presented do not make sense to the proposer(s). In 1975 it turned out they had overlooked a little detail in the theory of celestial mechanics. It prompted a colleague of mine to suggest that: “There are very few really new things in celestial mechanics, only many researchers who haven’t read the literature”. My money is on this one being in the same category.

  21. Sounds like a variation of the Nemesis hypothesis to me. Instead of a red or
    brown dwarf they have substituted a massive planet that is closer in.
    http://www.space.com/22538-nemesis-star.html

    Who knows what is out there yet undiscovered. They didn’t confirm the existence of the Kuiper belt until 1992 which eventually led to the downgrading of Pluto. Though the James-Webb space telescope will be concentrating on the evolution of galaxies by looking further out and thus back further in time than the Hubble, I hope that it will also reveal more about our own solar system and it’s nearer neighbors.

  22. Ten times the mass of earth at 1000 AU? Jupiter is 317 times the mass of earth (and 2.5 times the combined mass of the 7 or 8 other planets), and orbits at 5 AU. So Planet 9 would have (10/317)*(5/1000)^2 = 8*E-07 times the gravitational influence of Jupiter. How could that explain the tilt of the ecliptic? Or anything else, for that matter?

  23. Planet Nine’s angular momentum is having an outsized impact on the solar system based on its location and size. A planet’s angular momentum equals the mass of an object multiplied by its distance from the sun

    With parameters given above (10 Earth mass, semi-major axis 600 AU) its angular momentum is about 20% of the rest of the system. It may still have an “outsized impact”, but only because its mass is small compared to Jupiter.

    BTW, orbital angular momentum of a planet is proportional to the square root of its semi-major axis, so it is not “its distance from the sun”, but the square root of that quantity. It does make a difference.

    • For solar system gravity forces I have healthy respect but not so much for the calculated effect of the solar system’s angular momentum numbers. Known planets 96% with sun 4% AFAIK, e.g. the Pluto’s effect on the sun is dwarfing Venus’ by 3 orders of magnitude and nearly twice as big as that of Jupiter’s. Is it a meaningless property, since there is no solid link between the sun and the planets, or perhaps because I am too ignorant (?).

      • Got pluto’s number far too high at 4e43, but it looks more like 4e38, Venus 2e40, Jupiter 2e43.
        Should have used excell rather than a pedestrian calculator ( L = 2π m r^2 / v )

  24. The idea that a tilted distant planet could tilt the planetary plane is highly doubtful. for one thing, more distant planets should then have more tilted orbits than the close-in ones, which they don’t. More likely is that the Sun has a segmented insides some of which rotate differently than others. For example, when the Sun does a magnetic polarity flip, it isn’t by magic but probably because its core has physically flipped. This seems to be necessary for large rotating bodies to prevent them from breaking up — the Earth does the same. Venus has a crazy rotation probably because its surface rotates differently than its insides. The Moon appears to be too small to need such a mechanism.

    • @NeverReady: Thanks for that link. This (like many Wiki articles) actually provides an excellent starting point for the discussion because it shows the truly nebulous (aha!) nature of the term “Nibiru.” The last sentence of the article, for instance: “In a 2015 report for the Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin, Immanuel Freedman analyzed the extant cuneiform evidence and concluded that the hypothesis that the name Nēbiru may be assigned to any visible astronomical object that marks an equinox is supported by cuneiform evidence” (emphasis mine)

      In other words, according to the Babylonian documentation we currently have, it is likely that if there was an equinox taking place on Earth, and a notable object was seen in the sky crossing the heavens at that time, that object was termed “Nibiru” by the Babylonians, whether or not they (or we) would otherwise call it “Jupiter,” “Venus,” “Regulus,” et cetera. This might have been true of planets as well as “fixed” stars, according to many scholars, and so the idea of there being one discrete “Planet Nibiru” is not well supported by Babylonian text… at least, that’s what I understand from what I’ve read of the available work in the field to date.

      Given the ongoing hunt for “Ix*,” I imagine Drs. Brown and Batygin, et al. (and those like myself here in the peanut gallery), wish fervently that this were not the case.

      (* The spice must flow!)

  25. Pluto was not planet X. Planet X is completely different, and is in the moonbeam space cadet category, as well as the second sun, that is about to destroy the world.

  26. re: Donald’s quackery comment (Donald Kasper October 21, 2016 at 2:28 pm): Stay away from the pipe. Any connections of solar and planetary influence on Earth here at ground level in terms of what heat we feel and can measure with all sensors has already been explained and debunked. However Donald, you might want to consider the following explanation based on your offering. Actually, this one and your’s are one and the same but they sing it better than you write it:

  27. What bothers me is that they keep referring to this as a “discovery”. It is a hypothesis. I will be a discovery if/when the planet is discovered. They think within 3 or 5 years.

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