Skip to comments.Comet's course hints at mystery planet [ from 2001 ]
Posted on 08/18/2006 2:36:59 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
The giant comet, known as 2000 CR105, measures some 400 kilometers across... Brett Gladman of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France, and his colleagues have discovered... that 2000 CR105 orbits the sun in 3175 years and never comes closer than 6.6 billion kilometers--well beyond Neptune's orbit. The farthest point of the highly eccentric orbit lies 58.2 billion kilometers from the sun--13 times as far as Neptune... One possibility is that 2000 CR105's orbit evolved into its freakish shape gradually, due to small, periodic gravitational nudges from Neptune. Computer simulations imply that such a "diffusive chaos" scenario is unlikely, Levison says, but Gladman says it can't be ruled out... The most exciting possibility is that a planet-sized body still hides in the outer solar system. "A Mars-sized body [at an average distance of some 15 billion kilometers] could scatter a body like 2000 CR105 to its present orbit," Gladman and his colleagues write in their Icarus paper. Unlike Mars, the planet would consist mainly of ice. Because its high mass would protect it from orbital disruptions, the astronomers say, it could still be around... But Levison doesn't like the idea of an undiscovered Mars out there. "It's not clear how it would have formed," he says. "I would be surprised if anything much larger than Pluto would be found. But of course I could be wrong."
(Excerpt) Read more at govertschilling.nl ...
Big-orbit Object Confounds Dynamicists
Source: Sky & Telescope Magazine
Published: Thursday, April 5 2001 Author: J. Kelly Beatty
Posted on 04/07/2001 11:46:54 PDT by vannrox
Giant Kuiper Belt planetoid Sedna may have formed far beyond Pluto
Physics Org (http://www.physorg.com/) | January 24, 2005 | Southwest Research Institute
Posted on 10/22/2005 4:05:39 PM EDT by SunkenCiv
Hey, this is kinda cool:
To get an idea how big this "supercomet" is the base ejecta outside the Cordillera Mountains from the Orientale basin on the Moon extends to about 500 kilometers.
If my conversion from kilometers to miles is correct this "supercomet" is about 248 miles across.
Mars is 6,794 kilometers across. It boggles the mind that there is a hunk of ice that big out there.
That would be great if controlled fusion enery were technically feasible.
That's a big boy.
Planet XPlanet X could exist provided it is... [f]ar enough away and/or small enough to exert no measurable gravitational deflections on the planets, comets or spacecraft in the outer solar system... [and f]ar enough away and/or small enough to have escaped detection by any of the all-sky surveys having sensitivity to moving objects that have been conducted to date.
by David Jewitt
Last updated 2005 Aug
What this means is that a planet of Earth's mass could exist undetected if it were more than a few 100 AU away, and even a Jupiter (300 Earth mass planet) could exist at distances only slightly greater. The sun could have a companion brown dwarf or even a star if far enough away! It's a nice thought but it will be very tough to do anything about it unless we are lucky. The Pan STARRS telescope now under development in Hawaii will provide the best constraints in the forseeable future. Will we get lucky? Stay tuned to find out... There is no convincing evidence for Planet X but "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". Such an object could exist provided it is sufficiently far away.
What even is scarier is that "supercomet" is about 250 miles across and the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was only 4 miles across.
Hey, at least comets are easy to spot. Asteroids are only easy to spot as they enter the atmosphere and produce a tongue of flame on impact. ;')
They are also getting better at spotting asteroids. 50 years ago they were still arguing as to what killed the dinosaurs.
In a manner of speaking, there could well be an even larger "hunk of ice" out there.
The PlutinosA surprising result of the new observational work is that many of the distant objects are in or near the 3:2 mean motion resonance with Neptune. This means that they complete 2 orbits around the sun in the time it takes Neptune to complete 3 orbits. The same resonance is also occupied by Pluto... Probably, the 3:2 resonance acts to stabilize the Plutinos against gravitational perturbations by Neptune. Resonant objects in elliptical orbits can approach the orbit of Neptune without ever coming close to the planet itself, because their perihelia (smallest distance from the sun) preferentially avoid Neptune... Approximately 1/4 of the known trans-Neptunian objects are Plutinos. A few more are suspected residents of other resonances (e.g. 1995 DA2 is probably in the 4:3). By extrapolating from the limited area of the sky so far examined, we have estimated that the number of Plutinos larger than 100 km diameter is 1400, to within a factor of a few, corresponding to a few % of the total... [S]ome researchers are unsure whether Neptune moved out as opposed to in, and question the distance this planet might have moved. They also assert that the inclination of Pluto is larger than typical of the objects in Malhotra's simulations (and notice that the inclination of 1995 QZ9 is still larger than that of Pluto).
by David Jewitt
If it hits, it will be Bush's fault.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.