Astronomers have discovered a mysterious trans-Neptunian object in our solar system

Astronomers have discovered a mysterious trans-Neptunian object in our solar system

Vatican astronomers have discovered a mysterious new object beyond Neptune that could help in the search for the supposed ninth planet in our solar system.

The trans-Neptunian body, named 2021 XD7, takes 286 years to orbit the Sun and is almost certainly smaller than the dwarf planet Pluto.

It was spotted by Richard Boyle using the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope on December 3 last year.

Like Pluto, which became the first of more than 800 trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) discovered in 1930, 2021 XD7 has a strange orbit that is significantly more tilted than the motions of Earth, Mars and other planets.

It is closest to the Sun and 30 times farther than our own world.

Astronomers hope the TNO study will help them find the elusive so-called Planet Nine.

Vatican astronomers have discovered a mysterious new object beyond Neptune that could help in the search for the supposed ninth planet in our solar system.  The trans-Neptunian body, named 2021 XD7, travels around the Sun in 286 years.

Vatican astronomers have discovered a mysterious new object beyond Neptune that could help in the search for the supposed ninth planet in our solar system. The trans-Neptunian body, named 2021 XD7, travels around the Sun in 286 years.

Mysterious: 2021 XD7 was spotted by Richard Boyle using the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope on December 3 last year.  It has a strange orbit that is significantly more inclined than the motions of Earth, Mars and other planets.

Mysterious: 2021 XD7 was spotted by Richard Boyle using the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope on December 3 last year. It has a strange orbit that is significantly more inclined than the motions of Earth, Mars and other planets.

Astronomers hope TNO research will help them find the elusive so-called Planet Nine (artist pictured).

Astronomers hope TNO research will help them find the elusive so-called Planet Nine (artist pictured).

WHY IS PLUTO NOT A PLANET?

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union, a global group of experts in astronomy, established a definition for a planet that requires it to “clear” its orbit, or in other words, be the largest gravitational force in its orbit.

Since Neptune’s gravity affects the neighboring planet Pluto, and Pluto shares its orbit with frozen gases and objects in the Kuiper belt, this meant that Pluto did not have the status of a planet.

Pluto has been moved from the definition of a planet to a dwarf planet, which, despite its name, is not a “planet” according to the IAU definition.

The main difference between a “dwarf planet” and a “planet” is that the latter does not dominate its region of space.

Until 2006, there was never a formal definition of what constitutes a planet.

Scholars argue that this means that Pluto’s demotion is unfair and unjustified.

“Just so you know, I think Pluto is a planet,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

They believe that the orbits of a number of bodies in the remote corners of the solar system have been disturbed by the gravity of an as yet unidentified planet.

This alien world, first proposed by a group at the California Institute of Technology in the US, has been theorized to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

To match the data that experts have, the proposed planet would have to be about four times the size of Earth and ten times as massive.

The researchers say a body of this size and mass could explain the clustered trajectories of a number of icy minor planets beyond Neptune.

Its huge orbit means it takes 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete one revolution around the Sun.

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

Just last year, another group of experts identified the likely location of Planet Nine, about 46.5 billion miles from the Sun.

Pluto was once considered the ninth planet before eventually being demoted to a dwarf planet.

More TNOs are likely to be discovered next year thanks to the construction of a survey telescope at the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile in 2023.

Last September, researchers reported the results of a six-year survey of the outer solar system called the Dark Energy Survey (DES), which uses the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory telescope high in the Chilean Andes.

Their search yielded 815 Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), of which 461 are reported for the first time in a preprinted research paper.

TNOs are so named because they are farther away than any minor planet or dwarf planet in the solar system with an orbit outside of Neptune.

They are thought to be remnants from the formation of the solar system and are composed of a mixture of rocks, amorphous carbon, and volatile ices such as water and methane.

The image above shows the orbits of Earth, Venus, Mercury and Mars.  2021 XD7 is much farther from the sun

The image above shows the orbits of Earth, Venus, Mercury and Mars. 2021 XD7 is much farther from the sun

Their current orbital distribution is believed to be the result of the migration of the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune into their current orbits.

If it exists, Planet Nine is in the outer reaches of our solar system, beyond the Kuiper Belt, a doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects that extends just beyond the orbit of Neptune.

However, while astronomers have only indirect evidence of its existence.

An alternative hypothesis is that there is more than one giant planet, but instead the gravitational pull is due to the combined influence of much smaller objects.

This was put forward in May 2020 by researchers who suggested that Planet Nine could be nothing more than a mirage.

They suggested that what others believe to be the influence of the identified planet is actually “collective gravity,” a sprawling disk of icy debris made up of millions of small bodies.

PLANET NINE: OBJECT ORBITS BEHIND NEPTUNE SUGGEST SOMETHING BIG IS THERE

Astronomers believe that the orbits of a number of bodies in the far reaches of the solar system have been disturbed by the gravity of an as-yet unidentified planet.

This alien world, first proposed by a group at the California Institute of Technology in the US, has been theorized to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

To match the data they have, this alien world, commonly referred to as Planet Nine, would have to be about four times the size of Earth and ten times as massive.

The researchers say a body of this size and mass could explain the clustered trajectories of a number of icy minor planets beyond Neptune.

This alien world, first proposed by a group at the California Institute of Technology in the US, has been theorized to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

This alien world, first proposed by a group at the California Institute of Technology in the US, has been theorized to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

Its huge orbit means it takes 10,000 to 20,000 years to complete one revolution around the Sun.

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

Those hoping for theoretical Earth-sized planets proposed by astrologers or science fiction writers that “hide behind the sun” and are linked to doomsday scenarios may have to keep looking.

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