Monday, April 25, 2016

Modified Orbital Parameters for Planet Nine

Dynamical impact of the Planet Nine scenario: N-body experiments


de la Fuente Marcos et al


The Planet Nine hypothesis has now enough constraints to deserve further attention in the form of detailed numerical experiments. The results of such studies can help us improve our understanding of the dynamical effects of such a hypothetical object on the extreme trans-Neptunian objects or ETNOs and perhaps provide additional constraints on the orbit of Planet Nine itself. Here, we present the results of direct N-body calculations including the latest data available on the Planet Nine conjecture. The present-day orbits of the six ETNOs originally linked to the hypothesis are evolved backwards in time and into the future under some plausible incarnations of the hypothesis to investigate if the values of several orbital elements, including the argument of perihelion, remain confined to relatively narrow ranges. We find that a nominal Planet Nine can keep the orbits of (90377) Sedna and 2012 VP113 relatively well confined in orbital parameter space for hundreds of Myr, but it may make the orbits of 2004 VN112, 2007 TG422 and 2013 RF98 very unstable on time-scales of dozens of Myr, turning them retrograde and eventually triggering their ejection from the Solar system. Far more stable orbital evolution is found with slightly modified orbits for Planet Nine.

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