New findings from researchers at Caltech indicate that a mysterious Planet Nine may be the cause of a strange tilt.
A mysterious super-planet is rumored to be lurking deep in the outer reaches of our solar system, and now scientists think it may be to blame for a strange tilt in our solar system that scientists have noticed for decades but have been unable to explain.
The solar system has been around for 4.5 billion years after a cloud of debris collapsed into the disk we have today, resulting in the formation of a star and multiple planets orbiting around it. This disk has stayed incredible flat with only small changes in orbit, but with a problem: the disk should be in line with the equator of the sun, but instead there is a 6 degree tilt.
New findings from researchers at Caltech indicate that a mysterious Planet Nine may be the cause of this tilt, which would both explain this mysterious astronomical riddle and also offer more evidence that the hypothesized planet exists.
“Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly twist out of alignment,” says Elizabeth Bailey, a graduate student at Caltech and lead author of a study announcing the discovery.
The statement adds: “Planet Nine’s angular momentum is having an outsized impact on the solar system based on its location and size. A planet’s angular momentum equals the mass of an object multiplied by its distance from the sun, and corresponds with the force that the planet exerts on the overall system’s spin. Because the other planets in the solar system all exist along a flat plane, their angular momentum works to keep the whole disk spinning smoothly.”