Science

'Planet Nine' may actually be a black hole

'Planet Nine' may actually be a black hole”

They reckon its oval orbit will someday take it into the path of our planet.

"What if Planet 9 is a Primordial Black Hole?".

To detect objects of that mass, whether planets or black holes, astronomers can look for weird blobs of light formed when light "bends" around the object's gravitational field on its journey to Earth (simulated image above). If they exist, such black holes could make up the 80% of the universe that scientists can't see.

Dark matter is believed to account for 85 percent of all matter in the known universe.

Now, researchers believe that Planet Nine could actually be a primordial black hole - a black hole which formed shortly after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.

"Once you start thinking about more exotic objects, like primordial black holes, you think in different ways", James Unwin, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor on theoretical particle physics at the University of IL at Chicago, told Gizmodo.

Six known objects in the Kuiper Belt, all of which have elliptical orbits that point in the same direction.

Caltech researchers presented mathematical evidence there is a Planet X in 2015 after motions of objects past Neptune appeared to be affected. The planet was believed to be 10 times bigger than Earth and 20 times farther out from the sun than Neptune - the outer-most planet in the solar system - making it hard for astronomers to spot.

For decades, scientists have theorised that there is a ninth planet - what would have been 10th were it not for the downgrade of Pluto to a dwarf planet - in Earth's neighbourhood.

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However, a new study suggests Planet Nine isn't a planet at all.

On average, the mysterious body orbits the sun at a distance 20 times farther than Neptune - about 18.6 billion miles.

If Planet Nine did turn out to be a black hole, it would also explain why it has been so far impossible to spot as researchers have so far been looking for an object in visible light. That's the title of a new paper about the mysterious gravity source at the edge of our solar system, Business Insider reports.

In most star systems, the surrounding planets tend to rotate in line with their host.

But that may not be the case.

As a part of the study, researchers analyzed the data on six Kuiper Belt objects' freakish orbits.

Both of these unusual phenomena are likely caused by the interference of unknown objects, each with similar mass. So a primordial black hole could be to blame for both, the study suggests. It could be one black hole the size of a bowling ball with the mass of 10 Earths, or a number of smaller primordial black holes that add up to that mass. They'll be looking in particular for groups of sporadic gamma ray flashes that would move slowly across the sky, as Planet Nine would be expected to do as seen from Earth.

"Planet Nine could be a five-Earth-mass hamburger", he said.



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