Yorkshire scientists study how Planet 9 got to edge of solar system
IT IS a mystery as old as the heavens.
But academics at the University of Sheffield now believe they have found out how Planet 9 ended up on the outskirts of our solar system. It has previously been suggested that the planet either moved to the edge of the solar system from the inner regions, or it was captured when the Sun was still in its birth star cluster.
The Sheffield team has found the capture scenario is ‘unlikely’ and Planet 9 must have formed around the sun. They say it probably formed closer to home than previously thought.
A team led by Dr Richard Parker from the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has found that Planet 9 is “unlikely” to have been captured from another planetary system, as has previously been suggested, and must have formed around the sun. Planet 9 is at least 10 times bigger than Earth, making it unlikely that it formed at such a large distance from the sun.
Dr Parker said: “We know that planetary systems form at the same time as stars, and when stars are very young they are usually found in groups where interactions between stellar siblings are common. Therefore, the environment where stars form directly affects planetary systems like our own, and is usually so densely populated that stars can capture other stars or planets.”