Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Smaller planets hint at existence of larger bodies farther out.

While astronomy enthusiasts have strong personal opinions about whether or not Pluto should be regarded as a planet,  Spanish astronomers think there's a bigger question to be answered lurking in the farthest reaches of the solar system. They think there could be at least two massive planets orbiting the sun at a distance so great, we cannot spot them.

There could be more planets beyond Pluto.

There could be more planets beyond Pluto.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Planets, planet X, Pluto


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - From Pluto and beyond, there exists a class of objects known as "minor planets." These small, rocky bodies are smaller than our moon, but sometimes larger than Pluto. They orbit like planets, for the most part, but there appears to be a pattern in their orbits that suggests something much larger is interacting with them.

The universe is governed by physical laws, most of which are quite well understood. These laws are so well understood that scientists can accurately infer the existence of other, unseen objects based on how visible objects behave. In this case, the behavior of smaller rocky minor planets such as Sedna and dwarf planet VP 113, hint at the presence of two larger planets in the outer fringes of the solar system.

St. Dominic de Guzman, patron saint of astronomers.

Spanish astronomers from the Complutense University of Madrid have noticed that these small rocky objects are moving in groups and appear to be getting tugged one way or another. The only way such behavior is possible is if there is another, much larger planet pulling at them, shepherding them into common orbits.

Based on current observations, astronomers estimate that a large planet, about 10 times the mass of Earth, lurks about 250 Astronomical Units (AU) from the Sun, or about 250 times the average distance between the Earth and Sun.

 A smaller planet, between the size of Mars and Saturn, looms a little closer, about 200 AU away.

These planets probably orbit in resonance with the rocky bodies that are being observed, just as Pluto and Neptune orbit in resonance. For example, Neptune makes three orbits around the Sun for every two of Pluto.

These distant planets would be large, but still difficult to spot because they would inhabit a corner of the solar system so far out that sunlight would barely hit their surface. In fact, the sun would only appear as a very bright star from those planets.

Still, their gravity could be detected and observed by watching their influence on closer, visible objects.

So are there two massive planets out there shepherding smaller planets in their orbits? It's too soon to know, and without direct observational evidence, scientists will remain skeptical. However, we can rest assured they're looking and if another planet or two are found, their discovery could recast Pluto as a very minor player in a much bigger play.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Technology

Missile to smash incoming nuclear weapons successfully tested in California Watch

Image of Much work remains to be done, as Lockheed martin, Boeing, and Raytheon are working on different parts of the redesign. Photo courtesy Zuma/Shutterstock/REX.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

While people packed movie theaters to see the latest installment of the "Star Wars" saga, an example of former president Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense project was successfully tested over the skies of Central California. The "Exoatmospheric Kill ... continue reading


Is a world without car crashes possible? Volvo says so! Watch

Image of A world without traffic fatalities or accidents? Volvo says that's as close as the year 20202. Photo courtesy of Volvo.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Can anyone truly imagine a futuristic world where there are no traffic accidents and no traffic fatalities? Swedish carmaker Volvo is making that bold claim, and that world is as close as the year 2020. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Volvo representatives ... continue reading


Caltech astronomers locate orbit of Planet X, but no planet -- yet Watch

Image of The orbit of Planet X has been inferred from how it affects other bodies, in the distant solar system.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have concluded that a ninth planet orbits the Sun, and it is very likely to be large, but extremely distant. Their conclusions are based on its influence on other objects far beyond the orbit of Neptune. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Two Caltech ... continue reading


Scientist develops method to manipulate gravity. Are gravity weapons next?! Watch

Image of Gravity occurs naturally and is bent by massive objects. But what if we developed the means to create gravity ourselves, turning it off and on?

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A scientist has developed a method to manipulate gravity, at least theoretically. Furthermore, we could accomplish his vision using existing technology. Such a breakthrough could eventually lead to large-scale manipulation of gravity, but to what effect? LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Flushless, futuristic toilet recycles waste to produce fresh water Watch

Image of Nanotechnology is the science of creating and working with materials about one nanometer wide, or one-billionth of a meter.

By Magdalena Mis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

A toilet that does not need water, a sewage system, or external power but instead uses nanotechnology to treat human waste, produce clean water, and keep smells at bay is being developed by a British university. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The ... continue reading


You won't believe your eyes! World's first drone can fly itself -and you Watch

Image of The EHang 184 was formally introduced at this year's Consumer Electronic Show (Steven Tweedie/Business Insider).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The EHang 184 was unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronic Show and is the world's first self-driving electrical aerial vehicle. It is designed to fly individuals short distances at low altitudes without the necessity for its passenger to control it. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


STICKER SHOCK! Oculus Rift arrives, why you'll need to buy flowers to use it Watch

Image of Oculus Rift costs $599, which means you'll need to buy flowers for your spouse before you can strap the headset on for some serious gaming.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Virtual reality arrived in the mainstream consumer market today, but the sticker shock has many gasping for their breath, and clutching their wallets. The much anticipated Oculus Rift headset opened for preorders today and will ship in late March and Early April. ... continue reading


We won't survive the robot revolution with $15/hr jobs Watch

Image of The first prototypes are already built--and working flawlessly. It's just a matter of adoption now.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Within just two decades, most of our jobs will be taken over by robots. What will happen as the world undergoes the biggest economic shift since the industrial revolution? There are two possibilities, but the time to choose is now. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) ... continue reading


Filipino priest chastised for riding hoverboard during worship Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The year's most wanted Christmas gift, the two-wheeled Hoverboard has wound itself throughout popular culture. While a popular item, a priest in the Philippines was soundly chastised for riding one during Christmas service. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Earliest signs of microbial life on Earth discovered in most unusual place Watch

Image of Researchers reached that conclusion while surveying the Barberton greenstone belt in South Africa. The layers of rock there are believed to be 3.22 billion-years-old.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

While the sun gives life to all things on Earth, too much of it can be just as deadly. Even the simplest microbe will avoid direct sunlight in order to survive. That is the recent discovery of scientists who have found fossilized microbes in the Achaean eon, ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
1 Solomon then summoned the elders of Israel to Jerusalem to bring the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 132:6-7, 8-10
6 Listen, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it at ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:53-56
53 Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 8th, 2016 Image

St. Jerome Emiliani
February 8: Jerome Emiliani lay chained in the dark dirty ... Read More