Our Solar System seems not to be lacking one single thing: weirdness. Let’s not forget the multitude of moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the unusual orbit of Mercury, the tilt of Uranus, the storms on Jupiter, and most of all: the incredible diversity of life on Earth.
But this article proposes to focus on space rocks located beyond Neptune’s orbit and that are orbiting the Sun in totally different ways than we see within the rest of our planetary vicinity. Scientists had long wondered why such a phenomenon occurs, and now they finally have an answer.
The collective gravity is the answer
Although the existence of the so-called Planet Nine was supposed to be the culprit, researchers now brought another explanation that was published in The Astronomical Journal. Their theory is that the collective gravity of the space rocks known as detached objects has introduced instabilities that over millions of years managed to change their orbits.
Astrophysicist Ann-Marie Madigan from the University of Colorado Boulder explained:
This region of space, which is so much closer to us than stars in our galaxy and other things that we can observe just fine, is just so unknown to us,
We’re the first team to be able to reproduce everything, all the weird orbital anomalies that scientists have seen over the years.
The orbits of the detached objects are highly elliptical, and among them, we can mention Leleākūhonua, FarFarOut, and others. They are tilted towards the relatively flat plane of the Solar System. The bodies are also sometimes aligning with each other, and that suggests a common instigator for the weirdness.
Madigan, together with astrophysicist Alexander Zderic from the University of Colorado Boulder, conducted simulations of the Solar System made on a supercomputer. Their simulation was made for the region between 100 and 1,000 astronomical units.
It’s amazing to find out that there is still a lot more to learn even about our own Solar System.