A Twofer! Astronomers predict TWO massive planets orbit beyond Pluto
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/13/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
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.
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.
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.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2018
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters. That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.
NASA is about to begin a hunt for alien planets near Earth, the first such survey ever conducted. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite ... continue reading
Chinese space station, Tiangong-1 is falling back to Earth and is expected to burn up on or around April 1. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading
Facebook has been caught in two new scandals, both with political implications. Unbeknownst to millions of users, Facebook has been quietly ... continue reading
The death of Stephen Hawking this week prompted a leading Catholic scientist to reflect on the life of the famed physicist, including his ... continue reading
Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has died peacefully in Cambridge, age 76. The physicist was famous for his groundbreaking work in the field ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Scientists detect disastrous trend in North Atlantic waters
- Global Warming threatening Europe with colder weather HD Video
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 HD Video
- Catholic Relief Services builds hospital in Haiti
- St. Marian: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 20, 2018
- 7 Famous Men You Probably Didn't Realize Were Knights
- Daily Readings for Friday, April 20, 2018
- The Memorare HD
- God Alone Suffices HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 21st, 2018 HD
- St. Leo the Great HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education