The Solar System may have lost the original “Planet Nine”

Solar system of Current planetary orbits appear to be stable, but that’s only because the planets have been stable for billions of years. The early Solar System was a vastly different place than it is today, and for nearly 20 years scientists thought they had a good handle on how it worked that way. But more recently, data has begun to point to some of the flaws in that understanding – especially about how the giant planets in the outer Solar System got where they are today.

Now, an international team of astrophysicists think they have a better understanding of that process, and they believe it could help settle a longstanding debate about the early Solar System.

Currently, the best model scientists have for the formation of the solar system is called the Nice model, after the town in France where it was first developed in 2005. As part of this model, the gas giants currently residing beyond the edges of the Solar System originally orbited what became the Sun much closer with more circular orbits. However, something caused instability in the system that pushed the planets beyond the much more elongated and evenly spaced orbits we see today.

Exactly what caused that anomaly is still a mystery. However, a team that includes researchers from Michigan State University, Zhejiang University and the University of Bordeaux think they have the answer. It is as simple as dust in the wind (sun).

During the early days of the Solar System, the gas giants resided in a dust cloud around the nascent sun in a nearly circular orbit. When the sun caught fire, it began to blow the dust in the circumstantial disk away. Some of that dust happened to have blown through orbit or gas giants, causing the instability seen by the Nice model.

However, the way the researchers came up with the idea also solved some of the problems faced by the Nice model. One of the key takeaways is that data, such as those collected from lunar samples, points to a much faster path to this instability commonly found in the original Nice model. With this updated “inside-out” dust cloud evaporation model, the arduous hundreds of millions of years of that instability are condensed into a timeline of several million years, which is much better suited to the data. whether existing.

However, that’s not the only data it matches. The Nice model itself is controversial in part because it points to a potential ninth planet in the early Solar System – and it doesn’t mean Pluto. A favorite of many as a conspiracy skywatcher, Planet 9 (or Planet X) is gaining more and more attention after a 2015 Caltech study suggested there could be a something giant lurks about 50 billion miles from the Sun.

Author Sean Raymond of the University of Bordeaux demonstrates how dispersion can have a major effect on surrounding material.Credit – Sean Raymond / MSU

The original Nice model actually worked better with five inner gas giant planets, but in those calculations one of those planets was ejected into interstellar space to become a planet. fake. In the updated model, the outcome of the planet’s orbital alignment is essentially the same whether four or five gas giants originate in the system. However, they match reality slightly better if only four planets were included in the model initially.

As with many theories, this new model could impact our understanding of the formation of the early Solar System and could resolve the age-old controversy about what causes the formation instability. what constitutes our neighboring planets. But eventually, even this new model will have to contain data, and much more needs to be gathered before the true story of our early solar system is revealed.

This article was originally published on Universe today by Andy Tomaswick. Read the original text here. The Solar System may have lost the original “Planet Nine”

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