Astronomers on the hunt to confirm the possible presence of a Planet Nine within the outer parts of the Solar System have confirmed that
Astronomers are still searching for a hypothetical Planet Nine in the distant reaches of the Solar System, but an 11-Jupiter-mass planet called HD 106906b is looking more and more like the Planet Nine of its planetary system.
HD 106906 is a binary star system located 336 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Crux.
The system is about 15 million years old, and hosts a giant planet, HD 106906b, discovered by the Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory in 2013.
However, astronomers did not then know anything about the planet’s orbit.
This required something only the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope could do: collect very accurate measurements of HD 106906b’s motion over 14 years with extraordinary precision.
A research team led by Meiji Nguyen from the University of California, Berkeley, determined that the planet circles the twin host stars at a distance of 730 AU once every 15,000 years, making it a distant cousin of Planet Nine.
The planet’s orbit is very inclined, elongated and external to a dusty debris disk that surrounds the stars.
“To highlight why this is weird, we can just look at our own Solar System and see that all of the planets lie roughly in the same plane,” Nguyen said.
“It would be bizarre if, say, Jupiter just happened to be inclined 30 degrees relative to the plane that every other planet orbits in.”
“This raises all sorts of questions about how HD 106906b ended up so far out on such an inclined orbit.”
The prevailing theory to explain how HD 106906b arrived at such a strange orbit is that it formed much closer to its stars — at a distance of about 3 AU.
However, drag within the system’s gas disk caused the planet’s orbit to decay, forcing it to migrate inward toward its stellar hosts.
The gravitational forces from the whirling twin stars then kicked it out onto an eccentric orbit that almost threw it out of the system and into the void of interstellar space.
Then a star passed very close by to this system, stabilising the exoplanet’s orbit and preventing it from leaving its home system.
This scenario to explain HD 106906b’s bizarre orbit is similar in some ways to what may have caused the hypothetical Planet Nine to end up in the outer reaches of our Solar System, beyond the Kuiper Belt.
“Despite the lack of detection of Planet Nine to date, the orbit of the planet can be inferred based on its effect on the various objects in the outer Solar System,” said Dr. Robert De Rosa, an astronomer at ESO.
“This suggests that if a planet was indeed responsible for what we observe in the orbits of trans-Neptunian objects it should have an eccentric orbit inclined relative to the plane of the Solar System.”
“This prediction of the orbit of Planet Nine is similar to what we are seeing with HD 106906b.”
The team’s paper was published in the Astronomical Journal.
Scientists spot a Second Cloud-Free Exoplanet
It is not every day that astronomers stumble upon a cloud-free exoplanet. In fact, less than 7% of exoplanets have clear atmospheres.
When astronomers discovered the cloudless WASP-96b in 2018, it was the first exoplanet they had found so far with a clear atmosphere.
Astronomers want to understand the formation of the exoplanets by studying them more closely.
“Their rarity suggests something else is going on or they formed in a different way than most planets,” posits Harvard astronomer Munazza Alam who also works with the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
“Clear atmospheres also make it easier to study the chemical composition of planets, which can help identify what a planet is made of.”
First detected in 2012, the WASP-62b was named for the Wide Angle Search for Planet (WASP) South Survey during which it was discovered.
WASP-62b circles an F-type star 575 light years away called WASP-62 which is inside the Dorado constellation.
The exoplanet’s mass is half that of Jupiter, and it completes an orbit around its host star every 4.4 days, covering a 0.06 AU distance.
Alam’s team worked with NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe the WASP-62b using spectroscopy and record data. Spectroscopy is the study of electromagnetic radiation and how it is used to identify chemical elements.
The planet was under the observation of the astronomers even as it swept before its host star thrice, and creating noticeable light observations capable of detecting sodium and potassium within the atmosphere of a planet.
“I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t too excited about this planet. But once I started to take a look at the data, I got excited,” Alam observed.
It was immediately apparent that sodium was present on the exoplanet, but the astronomers did not detect potassium.
The data observed revealed sodium absorption lines and their fingerprint in full.
“Clouds or haze in the atmosphere would obscure the complete signature of sodium, and astronomers usually can only make out small hints of its presence,” Alam continued. “This is smoking gun evidence that we are seeing a clear atmosphere.”
The discovery of WASP-62b was announced in a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
How Galaxy Collisions Quench Star-Formation
Astronomers have detected an enormous starburst galaxy 9 billion light-years from us. The unique galaxy is tailed by a mass of star-forming gas within the outer parts of the Universe.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array or ALMA, the astronomers believe that the Galaxy ID2299 has collided with a different galaxy, causing it to eject 46% of the star-forming gas in it at a spectacular speed of 10,000 solar masses each year.
ID2299 is a product of two galaxies that collided to form one galaxy and because of the distance, what astronomers see is the galaxy as it was when our Universe was only 4.5billion years old.
“This is the first time we have observed a typical massive star-forming galaxy in the distant Universe about to ‘die’ because of a massive cold gas ejection,” explained Dr. Annagrazia Puglisi who is the lead author, a Durham University and Saclay Nuclear Research Centre astronomer.
The general consensus among astronomers has been that star formation and black hole activity cause winds and launches into space the star-forming material that enables galaxies to form new stars.
ID2299 seems to suggest that even galactic mergers can propel the star forming material out of a galaxy and into space.
“Our study suggests that gas ejections can be produced by mergers and that winds and tidal tails can appear very similar,” elaborated CEA-Saclay astronomer and co-author Dr. Emanuele Daddi.
“I was thrilled to discover such an exceptional galaxy,” Dr. Puglisi added. “I was eager to learn more about this weird object because I was convinced that there was some important lesson to be learned about how distant galaxies evolve.”
ALMA only observed ID2299 for a few minutes, but the powerful observatory permitted the team to gather the information they needed to perceive both the galaxy and its ejection tail.
“ALMA has shed new light on the mechanisms that can halt the formation of stars in distant galaxies,” observed Dr. Chiara Circosta, a co-author and astronomer at the University College London.
“Witnessing such a massive disruption event adds an important piece to the complex puzzle of galaxy evolution.”
The presence of ID2299 was published in a paper on the journal Nature Astronomy.
CIA Secret UFO Document Dump
This may sound the plot of a sci-fi thriller, but it really isn’t. The CIA has recently released various documents related to UFOs.
You can access these documents by visiting the Black Vault website. Some files are as large as 325MB. Podcaster John Greenwald Jr. operates the Black Vault. On his website, he explains exactly how he managed to get his hands on the records.
According to Greenwald, the CIA only released 1000 pages of the top secret documents. The pages were declassified in the 1980s after a court case. But the case failed to address documents dated before the court case. These remained top secret.
For years, the podcaster’s fought the CIA to release the records. John Greenwald added that even though a large number of documents were released in previous years, thousands still remain top secret.
Greenwald continues to caution his listeners that there could very well still be many more UFO-related documents hidden from view. However, there is no way to know for sure. The website assures readers it will continue working to unearth more documents.
The records are available in an organized format. The website also contains other UFO-related documents dating back to 1977. It is believed that the CIA has followed and documented UFO-related events since its inception in 1947.
There is little doubt that the released documents will ascertain the existence of life on other parts of the Solar System. More likely however, they will simply lead to more questions.
We are currently going through the documents. In case we discover anything interesting, we will update you. This document dump is different from the one expected in June 2021. Pentagon’s UAPTF was called to deliver an unclassified report concerning UFO/UAP. This will be presented to the committee selected by the Senate in June.
Home4 months ago
Best Science Board Games
Health & Fitness4 months ago
8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health
Medical4 months ago
Identifying the Sound of a Covid-19 Cough with Artificial Intelligence
Automotive4 months ago
Everything you need to know about turbochargers
Gadgets4 months ago
Wearable Devices to be Fitted with Tiny Micro Supercapacitor
Nature4 months ago
Plastic ‘Spider’s Web’ Solution for Smashed Smartphone Screen
Medical4 months ago
Nurami Medical lands $6M making regenerative bandages for post-surgery recovery
Environment4 months ago
Farming Could be Transformed by Self-Watering Soil