The solar system has many patterns in its structure. Over a number of them, such as the location from the planets, scientists have been puzzling over for years and years. A new study by astronomers may explain why the eight planets we all know are split evenly according to their type.
If we think of the solar system as a stadium with running tracks, each planet will take its place in certainly one of eight positions, and the sun is going to be located exactly in the heart of the stadium.
Thanks to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which in this instance coincides using the geometry in our stadium, we all know that the further the planets can be found around the sky map generator from the Sun, the greater time it will take to allow them to complete one complete revolution round the star.
Thus, Mercury is around the first track and orbits the sun's rays faster than the others – in only 88 Earth days. The eighth track will be occupied through the absolute outsider Neptune, who'll “run” one lap for this imaginary stadium for 165 long Earth years. Even Uranus, which always finishes seventh, will it 80 years faster.
Understanding the speed of motion of planets around the Sun allows scientists to accurately calculate the periods of closest approach of the world to its neighbors, send reconnaissance probes to other planets, make gravity assist maneuvers on spacecraft, explore distant space using orbital telescopes, etc.
But one mystery of this stadium remains insoluble: the length between your fourth and fifth lanes seems to divide the participants in our race into two groups exactly in two. Additionally, the very first four participants (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) are smaller and have a different structure in contrast to their heavy rivals on lanes 5-8 (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune).
What have the scientists learned?
Ramon Brasser of Tokyo Institute of Technology and Stephen Moijsis of Colorado State University at Boulder wrote a paper on “Separation of the inner and outer solar systems by a structured protoplanetary disk.”
Brasser and Moijsis decided to find out who threw the final stone in this planetary curling and why the solar product is divided exactly in half with respect to the type of planets. The authors of the study call this feature from the solar system “the great separation”, and first of all, they checked previous theories that may explain the paradoxically normalized arrangement of planets in cosmic chaos.
Many scientists think that the cause of the truly amazing division is Jupiter – the largest planet within our system, that is located just outside the asteroid belt. The truth is this type of large planet could behave as a gravitational barrier and prevent the passage of gases and solid space objects nearer to the sun's rays.
Astronomers used data from the ALME millimeter-wave telescope in Chile’s Atacama Desert and confirmed that a disk of dust gases similar to the “tiger’s eye” is often seen around distant stars in young star systems.
Based on these data, scientists have suggested that the similar problem could have caused an excellent division within the solar system about 4.5 billion years back.
According towards the hypothesis from the authors from the study, the protoplanetary disk round the young Sun could create two zones with high and low pressure of gas and dust. These zones were accountable for the distribution of materials in the solar system and led to the emergence of the terrestrial group of planets and distant giants like Jupiter and Saturn.
Not Neptune alone
The theories described above might have to be revised, because in the past astronomers from the United States and Russia announced that another planet could appear in the solar system. No, this is not Pluto, which the International Astronomical Union recognized as a dwarf planet in 2006.
Scientists Michael Brown noticed that behind the orbit of Neptune, in the very edge of the solar system, it comes with an object that is about 5 times heavier than Earth. Astronomers have determined this by analyzing clusters of icy bodies in Below The Stars, that are susceptible to the gravitational effects of a hidden object, possibly the Ninth Planet or even the so-called Planet X.
This statement also confirmed the curvature of light from distant space objects, which might occur because of the impact of the Ninth Planet. Brown and Batygin confirmed that the hypothetical planet is all about 400 astronomical units from the Sun. In comparison, the distance from the Earth to the Sun is only one AU. or about 150 million km.
Based on the location and number of objects that surround it, Planet Nine is a cold gas giant, the core of which is composed of metals and silicates, packed on top of solid ice. If the planet comes with an atmosphere, it ought to consist of hydrogen and helium, in addition to particles of water and methane ice.
The primary obstacle in detecting this planet is sunlight, which does not reach this distance and prevents modern telescopes from detecting reflections from distant objects. The authors of this hypothesis are certain that it's the gravitational field of Planet Nine that affects objects within the Kuiper belt, and the probability of this object being absent there's only 0.2%.
In his recent interview using the famous video blogger Yuri Dudyu, another author from the hypothesis concerning the Ninth Planet, Konstantin Batygin, said that to find it, they use the Subaru telescope of the National Observatory of Japan, that is located at the height of Mount Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the rent which costs about Twenty dollars thousand for just one night.
Of course, the Ninth Planet usually stays only a hypothetical object later on, but when it's discovered, it can help astronomers find out more about the birth of the solar system and what influenced the arrangement from the planets around the sun.