Proof of the existence of the mysterious "Planet 9" may actually point to something else entirely: what scientists have learned
What scientists believe to be evidence of the existence of a mysterious ninth planet in our solar system (sometimes called Paneth X) may actually be proof that humanity's understanding of gravity is outdated and wrong.
This is stated in a study by Case Western Reverse researcher Harsh Mathur and Hamilton College physics professor Katherine Brown, which was published in the scientific journal The Astronomical Journal. Its authors believe that everything we observe on the outskirts of the solar system can be explained by a theory known as Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND).
In their work, the researchers studied how the Milky Way galaxy could affect objects on the outer edges of the Solar System if gravity is described by MOND.
MOND is a modified version of gravitational theory and can explain how galaxies rotating extremely fast do not lose their structure and do not fly apart.
Currently, it is believed that invisible dark matter is responsible for the stability of galaxies, which envelops and gravitationally binds galaxies together, preventing them from falling apart.
Instead, MOND rejects the need for dark matter to exist. According to the new theory, it is not an additional existing force, but the fact that Isaac Newton's famous law of gravity is only true up to a certain limit.
The MOND theory suggests that a different type of gravitational behavior prevails in galaxies rotating at high speed.
"MOND explains the observations on a galactic scale really well, but I didn't expect it to have a significant impact on the outer solar system," Mathur said.
As you know, the evidence for the existence of the so-called Planet 9 is the gravitational influence on objects in the Kuiper belt, a disk located at the edge of our solar system. It contains a variety of icy bodies such as comets and asteroids, and its most famous inhabitant is Pluto.
In 2016, observations revealed that some of the objects in the belt have orbital anomalies and clusters that are not similar to other inhabitants of the Kuiper belt. Experts who studied them suggested that such anomalies could have arisen because the objects were affected by the gravitational force of a planet unknown to mankind, which is hidden somewhere in the dark outskirts of our system.
But Mathur and Brown decided to find out whether the strange orbits in the Kuiper belt could be due to an influence other than an unknown planet. Therefore, they decided to use the MOND theory in the study.
It turned out that modified gravity is quite capable of causing and explaining what is happening in the Kuiper belt. Matur and Brown suggest that over millions of years, the orbits of some inhabitants of the outer Solar System could have been gravitationally pulled - instead of being aligned with the rest of the Solar System, they were aligned with the Milky Way's gravitational field.
At the same time, scientists urge caution about their results, as the data set on which this study is based is small.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA told about a mathematician who believed that he had found the planet Vulcan in the vicinity of the Sun.