Thursday, December 17, 2015

ALMA's Solar System Member: That's Too Fluffy or Really Dense

Tentative planetary orbital constraints of some scenarios for the possible new Solar System object recently discovered with ALMA




Some of the scenarios envisaged for the possible new Solar System object, whose discovery with the ALMA facility has been recently claimed in the literature, are preliminarily put to the test by means of the orbital motions of some planets of the Solar System. It turns out that the current ranges of admissible values for any anomalous secular precession of the perihelion of Saturn, determined in the recent past with either the EPM2011 and the INPOP10a planetary ephemerides without modeling the action of such a potential new member of the Solar System, do not rule out the existence of a putative Neptune-like pointlike perturber at about 2500 au. Instead, both a super-Earth at some hundreds of au and a Jovian-type planet up to 4000 au are strongly disfavored. An Earth-sized body at 100 au would have a density as little as ∼0.1−0.01 g cm−3, while an unusually large Centaur or (Extreme) Trans Neptunian Object with linear size of 220−880 km at 12−25 au would have density much larger than ∼1 g cm−3.

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