What If Planet Nine Is A Bowling Ball-Size Black Hole?

The orbits of six distant objects in the solar system all mysteriously line up in a single direction. A planet with 10 times Earth's mass could explain this configuration

The orbits of six distant objects in the solar system all mysteriously line up in a single direction. A planet with 10 times Earth's mass could explain this configuration

An astronomical anomaly considered by scientists to point to an as-yet-undiscovered planet may actually be a big black hole lurking deep within our solar system, according to a new theory. Authors Jakub Scholtz and James Unwin, both physics PhDs, urge us to consider the notion of a relatively close black hole. Super-Earths are planets with a mass greater than Earth's, but substantially less than that of a gas giant.

"When you begin interested by extra unique objects, like primordial black holes, you suppose in numerous methods", James Unwin, one of many research's authors and an assistant professor on theoretical particle physics on the College of IL at Chicago, advised Gizmodo. "Initially proposed by Stephen Hawking in 1971, they have come back to the fore in recent years as possible candidates for explaining dark matter".

And not only that, but the pair say in a paper on their theory that a black hole matching the projected mass of Planet X would be so dense it could be only the size of a bowling ball. Without this distant planet, BP519 might've had a behavior which could not be explained. The gravity of a distant planet might cause its orbit. That apparently fits what scientists see way out there, 20 times further than Neptune, where ice chunks have their own oval-shaped orbit in what's called the Kuiper Belt.

Planet Nine hunter Konstantin Batygin didn't rule out the idea that it might actually be something more exotic.

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But that may not be the case. In 2015, it was nicknamed BP519, and it was quite unusual to study - it travels perpendicular to the rest of the planets and objects from our solar system. It could be one black hole the size of a bowling ball with the mass of 10 Earths, or a number of smaller primordial black holes that add up to that mass. They'll be looking in particular for groups of sporadic gamma ray flashes that would move slowly across the sky, as Planet Nine would be expected to do as seen from Earth.

The scientists behind the new study say that direct observations of the mysterious object ⁠- if astronomers can find it ⁠- could help determine whether it's a planet or black hole. Of course, they recognise that a planet is more likely than an ancient black hole unlike any we've directly observed. "Of course, a hamburger has a comparable albedo", or how much light it reflects, "to a planet, but a black hole the size of your wallet is a bit harder to find", he toldGizmodoin an email. Although the physicists' proposal is speculative, their search may yield all sorts of information about dark matter and the sources of gamma ray flashes-whether they lie within our solar system or far across the universe.

Really, Batygin told Gizmodo, Planet Nine could be any kind of low-visibility object with the right mass.

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