Research

Hypothesis that Planet 9 is a black hole stirs controversy

Share
An artist's depiction of a large black hole

Some facts about this mysterious "planet" state that it orbits the sun every 20,000 years and is located extremely far away thus diluting any possible chance of being seen. The unusual object, they said, could have a mass some 10 times that of Earth and take up to 20,000 Earth years to complete one orbit of the Sun as it sits between 45 billion and 150 billion kilometers from our star.

Instead, the researchers chose to "focus on a more exciting possibility" that a primordial black hole is causing the anomalies.

An astronomical anomaly thought-about by scientists to level to an as-yet-undiscovered planet may very well be an enormous black gap lurking deep inside our photo voltaic system, in line with a brand new concept. "These observations have been taken as evidence of a new ninth planet in our solar system, called Planet 9, with mass of [about] 5 - 15 [Earth masses] and orbiting around the Sun at a distance of 300-1000" times the Earth to Sun distance. Despite how unlikely that sounds, the authors believe that "this scenario is not unreasonable" and they suggest a way to test it by looking for evidence of a dark matter microhalo around the mini black hole.

Forget Planet Nine, there could be something even stranger at the edge of our solar system - a hidden black hole. In the proximity of a black hole, the presence of black matter should lead to the emission of gamma-ray pulses. "We advocate that rather than just looking for it in visible light, maybe look for it in gamma rays". Or cosmic rays, ' Unwin says.

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). These tiny speculative objects could weigh as little as one times the mass of the Earth, and a black hole five times the mass of the Earth could fit in the palm of your hand, while one 10 times the mass of the Earth would be about the size of a bowling ball. In the new study, scientists have proposed a way of tracking such a black hole. However, such light may disappear when its carrier journeys in front of a distant star, then continuing in its orbit.

For the new study, researchers looked at data on the six Kuiper Belt objects' freakish orbits and also incorporated recent observations about how light traveling through the solar system appears to be bending due to an object (or objects) that scientist haven't accounted for.

Share