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Planet Nine thought to lurk in the outer solar system could be a black hole

Planet Nine, a celestial body up to 10 times larger than Earth, may just be a black hole of grapefruit – and a new telescope can help detect it.

Objects that oddly “clump” together outside Neptune’s orbit have led astronomers to suggest that “something big” is interfering with their orbit.

This could be a huge planet or a “ primordial black hole ” that, according to astronomers, crammes the mass of up to ten Earth objects into a sphere of grapefruit size.

Researchers from Harvard University and the Black Hole Initiative believe that a new wide field telescope being built in Chile could confirm the true nature of Planet Nine.

Known as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, it will be able to repeatedly scan large areas of the southern sky – providing astronomers with a wealth of data about the universe.

The 'planet' could be a huge planet or a 'primordial black hole' that puts the mass of up to 10 Earth objects in a sphere of grapefruit, according to astronomers

The ‘planet’ could be a huge planet or a ‘primordial black hole’ that puts the mass of up to 10 Earth objects in a sphere of grapefruit, according to astronomers

It will conduct a Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) when it comes online in 2022 in an effort to hunt for flare-ups around black holes.

Harvard researchers have developed a new technique that this survey could use to help determine if a tiny black hole is really outside Neptune.

In a new article published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Avi Loeb and Frank Baird explain that it would look for flares that result from disturbing comets.

“Near a black hole, small bodies approaching will melt due to heating the buildup of gas from the interstellar medium on the black hole,” said student Amir Siraj, who was involved in the study.

Known as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory (shown), it will be able to repeatedly scan large areas of the southern sky - providing astronomers with a wealth of data about the universe

Known as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory (shown), it will be able to repeatedly scan large areas of the southern sky - providing astronomers with a wealth of data about the universe

Known as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory (shown), it will be able to repeatedly scan large areas of the southern sky – providing astronomers with a wealth of data about the universe

“As soon as they melt, the small bodies are subject to tidal disturbance from the black hole, followed by accretion of the tidal disturbance from the black hole.”

Because black holes are dark, the only way to detect whether there is one is the radiation emitted when it approaches the mouth of the object.

Future searches for primal black holes could be informed by the new calculation, according to the Harvard team.

“This method can detect or exclude trapped black holes in the planetary mass as far as the edge of the Oort cloud, or about one hundred thousand astronomical units,” Siraj said.

“It may be able to set new limits on the fraction of dark matter contained in primordial black holes.”

The upcoming LSST is expected to have the sensitivity needed to detect fouling eruptions – that is, the light made from matter that comes close to the black hole.

“LSST has a wide field of view, which covers the entire sky over and over and looks for passing torches,” said Loeb.

What makes LSST different is that it can view the entire sky at one time, which helps if you don’t know exactly where to look – as is the case with Planet Nine.

LSST’s ability to view the sky twice a week is extremely valuable. In addition, the unprecedented depth makes it possible to detect flares that result from relatively small impactors, which are more common than large ones, “Siraj said.

The new article focuses on the famous Planet Nine as an excellent first candidate for detection – because it could be in very large skies anywhere.

This ‘planet’, sometimes called Planet X or Planet Next by people who still see Pluto as a full planet, has been speculated for years.

Many theories suggest that Planet Nine is a previously undiscovered planet, but it can also mark the existence of a black hole in the planet’s mass.

“Planet Nine is a compelling explanation for the observed clustering of some objects outside Neptune’s orbit,” Siraj said.

“If Planet Nine’s existence is confirmed by a direct electromagnetic search, it will be the first detection of a new planet in the solar system in two centuries.”

Planet Nine, a celestial body up to 10 times larger than Earth, may just be a black hole of grapefruit - and a new telescope can help detect it. Artist impression

Planet Nine, a celestial body up to 10 times larger than Earth, may just be a black hole of grapefruit - and a new telescope can help detect it. Artist impression

Planet Nine, a celestial body up to 10 times larger than Earth, may just be a black hole of grapefruit – and a new telescope can help detect it. Artist impression

That’s if you don’t count Pluto or other major asteroids and dwarf planets.

He said that if they don’t detect Planet Nine light as part of their search, they are more likely to be a black hole.

“There has been much speculation about alternative explanations for the abnormal orbits observed in the outer solar system,” Siraj said.

“One of the ideas put forward was the possibility that Planet Nine could be a grapefruit-sized black hole five to ten times the mass of Earth.”

The focus on Planet Nine is based on the unprecedented scientific significance that a hypothetical discovery of a planetary mass black hole in the solar system would have, as well as on the continued interest in understanding what it is.

“The edge of the solar system is our backyard. Finding Planet Nine is like discovering a cousin who lives in the shed behind your house that you never knew about, ”said Loeb.

“It immediately raises questions: why is it there? How did it get its properties? Did it shape the history of the solar system? Does it look more like it? ‘

The study is available to view on the website arXiv preprint server.

NINE PLANET: JOBS OF OBJECTS OUTSIDE NEPTUNE PROPOSAL ‘SOMETHING GREAT’ IS THERE

Astronomers believe that the orbits of some bodies in the far reaches of the solar system have been disrupted by the attraction of an unidentified planet.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorized to explain the distorted pathways seen in distant icy bodies.

To fit in with the data they have, this alien world – popularly called Planet Nine – should be about four times the size of Earth and ten times the mass.

Researchers say that a body of this size and mass would explain the clustered paths of a number of icy small planets beyond Neptune.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorized to explain the distorted pathways seen in distant icy bodies.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorized to explain the distorted pathways seen in distant icy bodies.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorized to explain the distorted pathways seen in distant icy bodies.

Its massive orbit would mean it takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make a single orbit around the sun.

The theoretical Planet Nine is based on the gravity it exerts on these bodies, and astronomers are confident it will be found in the coming years.

Those hoping for Earth-sized theoretical planets proposed by astrologers or science fiction writers – “hiding behind the sun” and associated with doomsday scenarios – may need to keep looking.

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