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Planet “X” Revealed by Cornell University

February 27, 2011

Headlines from recent Cornell University web pages.:

Persistent Evidence of a Jovian Mass Solar Companion in the Oort Cloud


We present an updated dynamical and statistical analysis of outer Oort cloud cometary evidence suggesting the sun has a wide-binary Jovian mass companion. The results support a conjecture that there exists a companion of mass ~ 1-4 M_Jup orbiting in the innermost region of the outer Oort cloud. Our most restrictive prediction is that the orientation angles of the orbit normal in galactic coordinates are centered on the galactic longitude of the ascending node Omega = 319 degree and the galactic inclination i = 103 degree (or the opposite direction) with an uncertainty in the normal direction subtending ~ 2% of the sky. A Bayesian statistical analysis suggests that the probability of the companion hypothesis is comparable to or greater than the probability of the null hypothesis of a statistical fluke.

Giant Nemesis candidate HD 107914 / HIP 60503 for the perforation of Oort cloud


Nemesis Reconsidered


The hypothesis of a companion object (Nemesis) orbiting the Sun was motivated by the claim of a terrestrial extinction periodicity, thought to be mediated by comet showers. The orbit of a distant companion to the Sun is expected to be perturbed by the Galactic tidal field and encounters with passing stars, which will induce variation in the period.

The perihelion precession of Saturn, planet X/Nemesis and MOND


Constraints on planet X/Nemesis from Solar System’s inner dynamics


We put full 3D constraints on a putative planet X by using the dynamics of the inner planets of the solar system. In particular, we compute the mimium distance of X as a function of its heliocentric latitude and longitude for different values of its mass.

Constraints on the location of a putative distant massive body in the Solar System and on the External Field Effect of MOND from recent planetary data


We analytically work out the long-term variations caused on the motion of a planet orbiting a star by a distant, pointlike massive object X.

Is it plausible to expect a close encounter of the Earth with a yet undiscovered astronomical object in the next few years?


We analytically and numerically investigate the possibility that a still undiscovered body X, moving along an unbound hyperbolic path from outside the solar system, may penetrate its inner regions in the next few years posing a threat to the Earth. By conservatively using as initial position the lower bounds on the present-day distance dX of X dynamically inferred from the gravitational perturbations induced by it on the orbital motions of the planets of the solar system, both the analyses show that, in order to reach the Earth’s orbit in the next 2 yr, X should move at a highly unrealistic speed v, whatever its mass MX is. For example, by assuming for it a solar (MX =M_Sun) or brown dwarf mass (MX = 80mJup), now at not less than dX = 11-6 kau (1 kau=1000 astronomical units), v would be of the order of 6-10% and 3-5% of the speed of light c, respectively. By assuming larger present-day distances for X, on the basis of the lacking of direct observational evidences of electromagnetic origin for it, its speed would be even higher. Instead, the fastest solitary massive objects known so far, like hypervelocity stars (HVSs) and supernova remnants (SRs), travel at v = 0.002-0.005c, having acquired so huge velocities in some of the most violent astrophysical phenomena like interactions with supermassive galactic black holes and supernova explosions. It turns out that the orbit of the Earth would not be macroscopically altered by a close (0.2 au) passage of such an ultrafast body X in the next 2 yr. On the contrary, our planet would be hurled into the space if a Sun-sized body X would encounter it by moving at v/c = 10^-4. On the other hand, this would imply that such a X should be now at just 20-30 au, contrary to all direct observational and indirect dynamical evidences.

On the anomalous secular increase of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Moon


A recent analysis of a Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) data record spanning 38.7 yr revealed an anomalous increase of the eccentricity of the lunar orbit amounting to de/dt_meas = (9 +/- 3) 10^-12 yr^-1. The present-day models of the dissipative phenomena occurring in the interiors of both the Earth and the Moon are not able to explain it. We examine several dynamical effects, not modeled in the data analysis, in the framework of long-range modified models of gravity and of the standard Newtonian/Einsteinian paradigm. It turns out that none of them can accommodate de/dt_meas. Many of them do not even induce long-term changes in e; other models do, instead, yield such an effect, but the resulting magnitudes are in disagreement with de/dt_meas. In particular, the general relativistic gravitomagnetic acceleration of the Moon due to the Earth’s angular momentum has the right order of magnitude, but the resulting Lense-Thirring secular effect for the eccentricity vanishes. A potentially viable Newtonian candidate would be a trans-Plutonian massive object (Planet X/Nemesis/Tyche) since it, actually, would affect e with a non-vanishing long-term variation. On the other hand, the values for the physical and orbital parameters of such a hypothetical body required to obtain the right order of magnitude for de/dt are completely unrealistic. Moreover, they are in neat disagreement with both the most recent theoretical scenarios envisaging the existence of a distant, planetary-sized body and with the model-independent constraints on them dynamically inferred from planetary motions. Thus, the issue of finding a satisfactorily explanation for the anomalous behavior of the Moon’s eccentricity remains open.

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