Some scientists have long believed that there may be a ninth planet, or “planet nine,” orbiting the sun from an edge Solar System (And no, it’s not Pluto.) New note for Exoplanet In the distant star system, it provides clues that may help us verify this hypothesis.
According to a study published in The Astronomical Journal Thursday, Hubble Space Telescope Discover a giant exoplanet, or exoplanet, orbiting a double star system 336 light-years from us that could be very similar to the ninth planet – if it ever existed.
The mysterious planet, called HD106906b, is 11 times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its two host stars from a distance of 67 billion miles, or 730 times the distance from Earth to the Sun. From that far away, it would take an exoplanet 15,000 Earth years to complete a single orbit around a pair of stars.
Scientists have known the existence of HD106906b since 2013 when it was detected by Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. But through a last observation, researchers were able to determine its orbit, because the Hubble telescope provided accurate measurements of the planet’s movements over a period of 14 years.
Scientists say the double star system is only 15 million years old, and it is surrounded by a dusty disk of remnants left behind by the formation of central stars and the planets around them. Astronomers have studied this system for 15 years because they believe that planets could form in this disk.
The solar system contains a similar dusty disk known as the Kuiper belt behind Pluto. Astronomers have observed strange orbits of some celestial bodies and dwarf planets from this region. Some believe that the mass and some of its unusual motions are caused by a nearby hidden planet about 10 times the size of Earth and moving along an eccentric orbit.
“Although Planet Nine has not been discovered yet, the planet’s orbit can be inferred based on its effect on various bodies in the outer solar system,” said Robert de Rosa, co-author of the study and astronomer in Europe Southern Observatory in Chile, and explained in a statement . “This prediction of the orbit of Planet Nine is similar to what we see with HD 106906b.”
Researchers say that HD106906b was likely born near its host stars and was ejected by the gravitational pull of double stars. But if another star had passed by, it would have kept the exoplanet in the system instead of straying.
A similar process could occur for Planet Nine, as it formed near other planets in the early years of the Solar System and was exposed to Jupiter’s enormous gravity. Then the gravitational pull of a passing star pushed it into orbit in the solar system.
“We are slowly gathering evidence needed to understand the diversity of extrasolar planets and how that relates to elusive aspects of our solar system,” another study co-author Paul Callas, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley said in a statement.