The hypothetical ninth planet could be a black hole

It is possible that the planet hiding in the confines of our solar system is not one: American astrophysicists put forward the idea that it could be a very small black hole.

Scientists have been observing for a few years a very particular phenomenon in the Kuiper belt, at the edge of our system, where millions of frozen objects, mainly composed of water or methane, are found.

Some objects found there seem to deviate from their path, and thus present a solar orbit disturbed by, it is thought, the presence of a mysterious object.

The existence of September 1 th planet, also called Planet X, was then proposed . A floating planet that would have been attracted by the gravity of our system.

With a mass about ten times that of the Earth, this planet would be in an orbit 20 times farther than Neptune’s. Very slow, it would take between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete its tour around the Sun.

By comparison, the Pluto dwarf planet takes 248 years to perform its orbit.

Landmarks

  • A black hole is a celestial object that has an extremely large mass in a very small volume, as if the Sun were only a few kilometers in diameter or the Earth was compressed into a pinhead.
  • The concept of black hole emerged in the late 18 th century.
  • They are so massive that nothing escapes from them, neither matter nor light. They are virtually invisible, so no telescope had been able to “see” one before this spring .

Observe the unobservable

At such a distance, an object receives very little light from the Sun, which makes it very difficult to detect with today’s telescopes.

To find such objects, whether planets or black holes, astronomers track a gravitational microlens effect that appears when light is deformed around the object as it passes a distant star. .

The same technique is used to detect exoplanets.

New theory

US researchers James Unwin and Jakub Scholtz of the University of Illinois and Durham University, respectively, analyzed data on six icy objects collected through the OGLE ( Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment ) experiment .

These analyzes suggest that the disruption of the orbit of these transneptunian objects is due to the presence of a small black hole. And there could be several at the very end of our system.

We consider these objects as primordial black holes. Their orbits would be modified if one of them was captured by the solar system, as would be the case for the hypothetical planet 9.

James Unwin and Jakub Scholtz

This type of black hole called “primordial” would have formed at the time of the big bang.

To date, the existence of this type of black hole remains theoretical, but many astrophysicists believe that the Universe has an abundance. Some even think that they could constitute up to 80% of the Invisible Universe.

The theory of the presence of the black hole will have to be confirmed by the direct observation of this mysterious object, which will not be a small task.

Delimit its outline

To achieve this, the authors of this work (New Window) affirm that the research will have to focus on finding clues that can delineate the silhouette of the event horizon , which marks the intangible limit of entry into the world. black hole.

If they succeed in doing so, scientists could prove that the new planet is actually a black hole.

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