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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » ALMA discovered the Planet X?
ALMA discovered the Planet X?
Spock1108Date: Friday, 11.12.2015, 13:41 | Message # 1
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A research team of ALMA has discovered an object "near" to Alpha Centauri ...
could be a super-Earth orbiting in 1000 AU from the Sun...
It could be the Planet X!
What do you think?

ALMA's Publication

Sorry for my English! ;)
parameciumkidDate: Friday, 11.12.2015, 14:42 | Message # 2
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Honestly, since I didn't see it mentioned in the article(s), my money's on it being a rogue planet. They keep saying there's billions of these things flying around, so maybe now we've actually spotted one.

Intel HD Graphics 4000 ;P
Destructor1701Date: Saturday, 12.12.2015, 04:08 | Message # 3
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Excellent find, Mr Spock!

Wow, they really bury the lead in that paper! Initially, while reading it, I thought you had misinterpreted a new planet detected around Alpha Centauri's baricenter ... and that remains a possibility, but:

Quote The Paper
4.2. A new member of the solar system: an ETNO?


In addition, bound motion at a distance of, say,
1000 AU (the aphelion of Sedna) would result in an orbital
motion of less than 4000 yr−1, but the apparent motion in the sky
would be dominated by the annual parallax (∼ 20000). Curiously,
when we examined a total of 766 925 known solar-system objects
for being within 150 around α Cen at the time of observation,
we found no source down to the limiting V-magnitude
of 26.0.

Again, a low-albedo, thermal Extreme Trans Neptunian
Object (ETNO), such as the hypothetical super-Earth of Trujillo
& Sheppard (2014), would be consistent with our flux data


For reasons of sensitivity (or rather, lack thereof), TNOs on
highly eccentric orbits have traditionally been firstly detected
when close to their perihelia. Further away, there would have
remained unseen (e.g., Sheppard et al. 2011). However, a sizable
population of such bodies is expected to exist at large distances
from the Sun. It is clear, therefore, that ALMA with its high
submm sensitivity provides presently the only existing means
to detect TNOs far from their perihelia
, where temperatures are
merely some tens of Kelvin. There must be a vast reservoir of
objects between, say, roughly 100 and 1000 AU, of which we
hitherto have seen only a tiny fraction.

5. Conclusions

Within ten months between 2014 and 2015, ALMA imaging
observations revealed a new source in two of the bands, at 0.74 mm
(Band 8) and 0.87 mm (Band 7) respectively, whereas the noise
was too high in the other bands. Staying within 500· 5 of both
α Cen A and B, this object essentially shared the high proper
motion of α Cen. With a spectral slope of 2, its submm-SED
appears thermal. However, simple arguments convince us that
this object cannot be an ordinary star. We argue that the object is
most likely part of the solar system
, in prograde motion, albeit at
a distance too far to be detectable at other wavelengths, viz. an
ETNO (>100 AU), a hypothesized Super-Earth (∼ 300 AU) or
a super-cool brown dwarf (∼ 20 000 AU).

Wow.... this is tantalising. In the full paper, they outline other things it could be, and their reasons for suspecting not, but it's far from a confirmed discovery.

Nevertheless, that's a wild thought! If true, then we eventually get a probe out there, we might want to send a thermonuclear flash bulb to provide enough lighting for our cameras!

Imagine that! Masses of worlds out there, vast surfaces eternally dark and useless to us (until we make some kind of orbital lamp tech or something). I can imagine some kick-ass science fiction about the secret bases that would be built out there... prison colonies... wow.

And where did it come from? (if true)

Is it a solar system object in that it formed from the primordial disk along with Earth, or (likely, at that inclination) is it an extrasolar capture. and can its composition tell us anything about its birthplace, or about the universe in general? Is it an ancient and lonely orphan, cast off during the formation of a giant star that went supernova thousands of millennia ago?

Awesome to think about... and really, the odds are that there are things like that out there - why wouldn't there be?

ParameciumKid, a rogue planet is a distinct possibility - although 1000AU is one hell of a near miss!

Edited by Destructor1701 - Saturday, 12.12.2015, 04:11
AlekDate: Saturday, 12.12.2015, 05:00 | Message # 4
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Depending on the mass this thing might just be the missing gas giant that supposedly went flying away from the solar system during it's formation...I'm getting shivers down my back 0-0

Living among the stars, I find my way. I grow in strength through knowledge of the space I occupy, until I become the ruler of my own interstellar empire of sorts. Though The world was made for the day, I was made for the night, and thus, the universe itself is within my destiny.
WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 12.12.2015, 06:37 | Message # 5
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This is a pretty interesting find! Astronomer Brian Koberlein expresses some caution in interpreting these conclusions though; we're not very confident about its distance from Sol, so for its apparent brightness there's a lot of uncertainty in how large it is. We really need to watch its motion over a longer time frame to better characterize its orbit, distance, and size.

It would be pretty neat if it turns out to be a super-Earth. smile Common in other solar systems, but as far as we yet knew, not present in ours.

DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 12.12.2015, 06:53 | Message # 6
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Guess those conspiracy theorists were right about Nibiru after all. wink

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G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
JackDoleDate: Saturday, 12.12.2015, 08:10 | Message # 7
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Astronomers Skeptical Over "Planet X" Claims

Don't forget to look here.

Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » ALMA discovered the Planet X?
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