I guess all those wackos were right, after all.
Astroboffins believe at least two hidden planets may exist in our solar system – far beyond Pluto. If the claim from scientists at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge is confirmed, the "results may be truly revolutionary for astronomy," said Carlos de la Fuente Marcos, who co-authored the study …
Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt have started planning an exploratory expedition, co-funded by Amazon and Google, on hearing this news today. A spokesperson for Amazon was earlier reported to have said:-
We look forward to the discovery of planet Google and planet Amazon, which we will claim as our respective international and interplanetary headquarters. If any indigenous life forms are found, we will of course be glad to pay them generously for the privilege, with corporation tax at 0.00001 percent.
Oh, and fuck you, European Commission...
They must be way bigger to show up in the calculations.
We already know there are larger fish than the Not-Planet Known To Be Inhabited By Dwarfs:
There may even be quite a few mars-massing objects in non-ecliptic orbits. These are known as "Oligarchs". None has been found so far though.
Checking the abstract indicates that they expect larger-than Earth masses:
The existence of an outer planet beyond Pluto has been a matter of debate for decades and the recent discovery of 2012 VP113 has just revived the interest for this controversial topic. This Sedna-like object has the most distant perihelion of any known minor planet and the value of its argument of perihelion is close to 0°. This property appears to be shared by almost all known asteroids with semimajor axis greater than 150 au and perihelion greater than 30 au (the extreme trans-Neptunian objects or ETNOs), and this fact has been interpreted as evidence for the existence of a super-Earth at 250 au. In this scenario, a population of stable asteroids may be shepherded by a distant, undiscovered planet larger than the Earth that keeps the value of their argument of perihelion librating around 0° as a result of the Kozai mechanism. Here, we study the visibility of these ETNOs and confirm that the observed excess of objects reaching perihelion near the ascending node cannot be explained in terms of any observational biases. This excess must be a true feature of this population and its possible origin is explored in the framework of the Kozai effect. The analysis of several possible scenarios strongly suggest that at least two trans-Plutonian planets must exist.
"2012 VP113" is of course also called "Biden".
They have to be pretty small and pretty far away from Neptune.
The many TNOs found since the 90s and 2000s are very small, Pluto-like, with very eccentric orbits and satellites in some cases. More recent finds are more like Ceres.
However, despite finding thousands of new stars in its survey of the sky, WISE was unable to spot any object the size of Saturn or larger to a distance of 10,000 astronomical units (1.49597871 × 1015m, or 9.29558073 × 1011 miles) and nothing bigger than Jupiter out to 26,000 AU.
Additionally it is not in hydrostatic equilibrium.
Interestingly, the definition for a planet only applies within our solar system. Technically, there are no planets outside of it. (Not digging out my dissertation to find the source - Oh look, it is on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAU_definition_of_planet)
We must send our four fastest ships, one in each direction. Super planets are always lurking around Sol at this time of the galactic rotation.
However, have you considered that they might not want to be part of the Solar System? After all, it was Sol that (r)ejected them* in the
fire swamp early days?
Besides, future dynamical evolution [of suspiciously extra-solar comet 96P/Machholz 1] displays orbital flips when its eccentricity is excited to a high value and its orbit turns over by nearly 180°, rolling over its major axis. This unusual behaviour, that is preserved when post-Newtonian terms are included in the numerical integrations, may also help understand the production of NEOs on retrograde orbits.
post-Newtonian = Using GR in numerical integrations?
@Sir Runcible Spoon
And what will they occlude? Unless they just happen to wander in front of Kepler (which looks at the same chunk of sky all the time) we could go centuries before accidentally spotting them. From our reference point they don't really move all that much, and we're constantly repointing every telescope we have to look at all the interesting things out there.
Humanity, in general, doesn't do a whole lot of "pointing a 'scope at the sky and just waiting for something interesting to stumble across." We set out on missions to find specific things in specific places. And unless you get a NEOWISE-style set of scopes to ring the Earth and just stare at fixed points (Kepler style), goof effing luck relying on occlusion.
Of the three IAU criteria for a "planet" - orbits the Sun, spherical shape, and has cleared its orbit - the third would be almost impossible to demonstrate for Kuiper Belt objects. Heck, not even the Earth really qualifies, given all of the Earth-orbit-crossing asteroids that have been discovered since then. No matter how large such a planet might be, the volume of its orbital space is no doubt filled with other minor bodies following similar orbits.
So, until the IAU reverses itself, there will never be any more "planets" discovered. Dwarf plants by the dozens are likely.
Given that most stars start as clouds of gas and dust is there any theoretical limit as to how far a star system may stretch?
Presumably, further out with much longer orbits one would expect a 'less mature' environment as there may not have been sufficient iterations of orbits to clear out the orbit of debris,etc. But is there a theory limit that says given the age of the solar system and the numbers of close encounters with other stars any material as far out as x would have likely been lost? Or that escape velocity is so trivial that everything will drift away?
Or is it all minor planets and assorted crud until you get to the next star?
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